How to shoot a sunset

Author:  Vicki Uthe

This image was taken in Nuevo Kino, Sonora, Mexico on the final night of December of 2015.  We were only down there for four nights and as luck would have it the most spectacular sunset presented itself on our final evening.  The lesson here? patience.  Had I been in a hurry and had only one evening to shoot a sunset I would have been sorely disappointed.


The previous evenings either had too many clouds, or none at all.  Too many clouds drown out the sunlight and make for gray, drab lighting and images.  Experiencing the sun set with no clouds at all, although always humbling, makes for boring images.

The other thing to remember is that the best light really happens AFTER the sun has gone below the horizon.  As you can see in this series of images, as the sun drops, the light keeps changing and getting better.  So again, patience.  Don’t pack up your gear and leave just because the sun is gone.  Stick around for the encore, it’s worth it.

The equipment I used was pretty simple: I had my Canon 7D mounted on my Benro travel tripod with a 24-70 mm lens attached.  I also connected a remote shutter release.  The camera was on Manual setting and once the shot was composed I sat back and waited for the changing light. As I liked what I saw I hit the button.  As the sky changed around me I turned the camera on the tripod and shot in other directions as well.  I also made sure to keep the shutter speed slow enough to blur the ocean waves to add a cool effect.

Keep your eyes to the sky and if you see some clouds get to an open space and see what happens!  Happy shooting!!

Vicki Uthe is a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.