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Discussion Starter #1
I have been taking some photos from my office early in the morning and evening with my old Canon Rebel with the simple telephoto it came with. Then got a Canon 50 mm 1.4 fixed thinking I would get some real clear shots. However, it was almost worse than my simple standard telephoto. I even tried low and high apature but didn't see much difference. Is there a particular lense that is recommended for such photos? Here are some shots I did with my standard telephoto, but looking for more clarity: Sunsets & Sunrise - a set on Flickr
 

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What do you mean by clear shots? Those don't seem all too bad. I'm guessing you're using a tripod given some of your shutter speeds are at 1/15. I'm not sure if your camera has this feature, but see if it has an exposure delay mode. That's what Nikon calls it at least. Basically when you press the shutter button, it waits a second to take the picture. In long exposures, sometimes you can shake the camera just a bit when you depress the shutter and that will reduce clarity. If you don't have that mode, a remote would do it too, or just be really careful.
 

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I see you shot fully stopped down to f/20. Lenses generally have a 'sweet spot', with wide open typically being 'soft', getting sharper as you stop down, until perhaps beyond f/10 when diffraction starts to set in, making images potentially softer again. When you shoot so far stopped down, you can increase focus field depth, at the cost of pushing the limits of the lens' ability to cleanly help render an image.

Also, when you stop down, your shutter speed falls, all else equal. Unless you use a remote trigger on a tripod, you can introduce motion blur at those speeds, further softening the shots.

I'd suggest reading around a bit because we don't need to stop so far down to get acceptable focus field depth. You're getting great color, and you're using the 50mm lens well in terms of composing a nicely framed shot. Just a little technique improvement would go a long way.

Hyperfocal distance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

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+1. Forgot to mention that in my post. I usually shoot my landscapes around f/8. Also forgot to mention that for sunsets, I typically enjoy using a wide angle lens because I can capture more of it when the colors are really nice. If I can tell that the sunset isn't going to be that great (cloudless sky) then I'll use another lens and just go for more creative sunset shots. Sometime this week I'll dig up some old sunset pictures so I can give some examples.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys, I am more used to shooting cars which seems easier than sunrise & sunsets. But I spot thee sunrises at work and can't help trying to get some shots. As far as camera movement and clarity, I shoot these shots with camera on my window ledge using a timer, so I am not touching the camera when it takes the shot. When I mention lack of clarity, I am noticing in some shots that the city lights just under the sunrise are blurry. For instance this one in the link below. It was when I brought in my better lense 50mm fixed 1.4 that cost me some bucks. I was disappointed as I expected to see better clarity than my cheap telephoto that came with the camera, however it seemed worse. I thought maybe it was not focusing properly, so I even tried manual focus to infinity, but no better. Maybe it is the f stop. I will try in the f10 range and see how that works so as not to be too open or too narrow.

Sunrise Saddleback Mountain | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
 

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There's not really a magic focal length for sunsets, although a good wide angle is typically used for general landscape style shots. I've shot some great sunsets at 10mm and plenty of great ones at 200mm, although I typically find myself at the wider range more often. I'd suggest picking up a wide angle lens, such as the Canon 10-22mm, Sigma 10-20mm or Tokina 11-16mm are great options on a crop camera. I have the Sigma and its given me tons of great shots.

You've got some great colors on your sunset shots - those first few with the waves crashing are great. Have you tried using filters at all? You could pick up some Graduated ND filters to help balance out the foreground and sky, and that would likely add more interesting features into your photos. I think that would really help the images by drawing your attention into the foreground as well.

While your 50/1.4 is a great lens and more than capable of taking sunset shots - the real advantages of that lens are its shallow depth of field and low light capability at f/1.4; it'll still take a great photo when you stop it down to f/8-11, but it'll be marginally better than your kit lens when stopped down to the same apertures.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Nice tips, and photo sharing too. Still posting some of my older photos as rookie, but will experiment more later now that sunset season is coming to So Cal. I added two sunset folders in my flicker site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/
Took a lot in our visit to Cambria recently, but not enough time to get them on line yet. I agree, the cannon 1.4 does just about the same as my standard old canon rebel lense. Will try some different app settings though.
 

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Don't mean to derail but have a question.
Long time ago I had a nice camera and the UV filter coupled with a brown one seemed to get the best sunsets on film. Gave it detail and brought out the best colors to me anyway. This was long before digital.
What add on filters do you guys use to turn your photos up a notch when taking sunset photos. We're on the water sunsets across the river from me and point and shoot have been fine for the last 20 years. GF Nikon d3000 we just had to replace so i'm going to get back into trying to learn how to get some better photos with the camera she likes and start trying to catch up a bit on all this new stuff you guys are using.
Thanks
LUKE
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Don't mean to derail but have a question.
Long time ago I had a nice camera and the UV filter coupled with a brown one seemed to get the best sunsets on film. Gave it detail and brought out the best colors to me anyway. This was long before digital.
What add on filters do you guys use to turn your photos up a notch when taking sunset photos. We're on the water sunsets across the river from me and point and shoot have been fine for the last 20 years. GF Nikon d3000 we just had to replace so i'm going to get back into trying to learn how to get some better photos with the camera she likes and start trying to catch up a bit on all this new stuff you guys are using.
Thanks
LUKE
I just use an old Cannon Rebel with no filters. Sometimes I will force under exposure.
 
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