Welcome to the blog! twcdm.blogspot.com is all about sharing tips, tricks and tutorials all having to do with photography, Photoshop and getting into the stock photo industry.

Travis Manley

My bio is here.
My Stock Photography portfolio is here.
My personal blog is here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

POTD #20

Photo of the Day
Took this one overlooking the water near the Dungeness Spit in my hometown (Sequim, WA). I know sunsets are cliche and have been done a million times, but I havent done them a million times and I felt like it was something I wanted to play around with and see what my version of a great sunset looked like.

It was alot of fun actually. I did this sunset series last summer, I would check out what time the sun was supposed to set online and drive out to a location I either had a feeling would be a good spot or I had scouted earlier. Summer twilight has got to be my favorite time, when its just getting dark, but it is still nice and warm out.

The Breakdown: The two most important pieces of equipment when taking sunset photos are a sturdy tripod and a remote trigger or timer. Its all about keeping your camera steady for those long exposures.

As far as camera settings go most cameras have a sunset setting (if this doesnt tell you that sunsets are overdone I dont know what will). I used the Spot metering mode on my camera and set it to expose for the sky not the dark foreground. I was more interested in what was going on in the clouds and if I tried using an automatic metering mode it would have taken a longer exposure to properly expose the foreground and would have blown out the sky.

I was playing around with different f-stops to see what I liked best and f10 was giving me the best results. I dont think there is any one perfect aperature setting for sunsets/sunrises. I wanted a very sharp image and I wanted to stop down my lens to avaid Chromatic Abberations (purple fringing). I found the wider I set may apature the softer the image, the more I stopped it down the sharper and if I stopped it down too far the sky got really grainy.

This is one of the lasts shots I took with my cheapo Quantaray QSX 6601 tripod. It didnt occure to me to check the maximum weight load for this tripod when I upgraded to the Canon 5d and the extra couple pounds stripped out the plastic gears. I have upgraded to the Manfrotto 190XPROB with the 484RC2 ball head, awesome tripod! (review coming soon)

After taking the shot I really tweaked the white balance in Photoshop and boosted the blues and reds to get the look I was going for.

Canon EOS 5d
0.25 sec (1/4)
Focal Length:
24 mm
ISO Speed:
Exposure Bias:
0 EV

Here are links to some of the equipment I used to get this shot. If the equipment I used is no longer available I have listed either the newer version or a similar substitute. I no longer use some of the items on this list.

Photoshop CS4

Canon EOS 5d

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens

Sunpak 6601TM Tri-Monopod - This one is pretty close to what I was using at the time. Dont underestimate the importance of a tripod, even if you are using a cheap one it is the only way to guarantee tack sharp photos every time.

Manfrotto 190XPROB Black Tripod Kit with 484RC2 Mini Ball Head - This is the tripod I use now.

Canon Wireless Remote

My Photography Workflow:

I shoot in raw,
organize and review shots in Adobe Bridge,
process raw files in Adobe Camera Raw
and export as .jpeg if im done,

if I need to do more work in Photoshop I export as .tiff,
make final touches in Photoshop,
I add titles, descriptions and keywords in Bridge when im done editing.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions.


  1. That sky is gorgeous. I'm such a sucker for red skies at night, and awesome clouds.

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  3. Ya, it was a really awesome night. Apparently there was a whale that surfaced a few times, but I never saw it. Carra and a couple other people there did though.


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