A lot of beautiful light happens at the end of the day. It is particularly soft in the winter. You can continue to shoot long after sunset, capturing a range of colors, fading into deep blues in the sky, and generally warm tones from electric lights. For example, the rocks and foreground waves in this photo are illuminated by the glow of The Cliff House, a restaurant perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Notice the warm golden tone. Also, a faint golden-red glow is all that remains of the sun, while the sea and sky are gradients of deep inky blue. Clouds on the left add visual balance to the rocks on the right.
To take a photo in these conditions, you'll need a tripod, or balance your camera on something steady. Put your camera in manual. Here are the general settings:
- 30 seconds
Choose a slow shutter speed, which will allow the waves to blur and the low light to develop.
- ISO 100
Long exposures also add more noise (graininess) to your photo, so choosing a low ISO will combat it.
I think this is generally a sweet spot aperture for all lenses, giving you a decent amount of depth-of-field (range that is in focus). If the sun is still on the horizon, choose smaller apertures to let in less light (generally up to f22).
You'll notice that the original exposure looks very dark. It's ok, though. As long as the histogram (check your camera manual to find yours) stays within the box, it means that I captured details in the entire exposure range of the image, from shadows to highlights. This means I can bring out those details in post-process, and get the final image, which evokes the feeling I felt while being in the scene. ♥