Shutterbugs have embraced a pandemic pastime: Chasing sunrises and sunsets.
Capturing the dreamy colours of dawn and dusk has an evergreen appeal. But some have found that Covid-19 curbs sparked fresh enthusiasm for the positive vibes of such photography.
Events manager Andrew Tan, 42, began hiking more when travel restrictions kicked in last year at the start of the pandemic.
“Other people chase typhoons, I chase sunsets. It provides a channel to deal with stress and manage mental well-being,” he says.
Staring into the sunset makes him feel “more at peace and more positive”, he says.
Professional photographer Lee Lay Na, 52, saw her income decline as social distancing measures reduced the number of conferences, concerts and other events she used to take photographs for.
She was initially downcast, but taking pictures of the sunrise every day helped her cope. “It’s something good that came from the bad,” she says.
Posting these “wow moments” on social media lets her “share more happiness with others” during the pandemic, she adds.
Here are some popular places for sunset and sunrise photography, including rising stars such as the Ulu Sembawang Park Connector, which hold their own against scenic classics like Changi Beach.
6 TIPS FOR SHOOTING THE SUNRISE AND SUNSET
Photographers from The Straits Times share tips on how to get the best sunrise and sunset shots.
1. Check the weather forecast
While rain is obviously to be avoided, cloudy weather is far from optimal too.
“Go during periods of hot weather. For instance, if it rained the day before, it will usually be cloudy in the morning, obscuring the sunrise,” says ST executive photojournalist Chong Jun Liang.
2. Allow enough time
Reach the location at least 30 minutes before sunrise to capture the transition from dawn to morning light, advises Mr Chong.
ST photographer Jason Quah agrees: “It’s better to go earlier to scout the location as the sunset duration can be quite short.”
3. Stay for the blue hour
Mr Quah says: “It’s good to stay for the blue hour. The skies turn a pleasing shade of blue which, coupled with the conclusion of the sunset, makes for atmospheric and dramatic photos.”
The blue hour refers to the darker stages after sunset – as well as before sunrise – when the sun is far below the horizon and the sky is a deep blue colour.
4. Give a sense of place
Mr Quah says: “Don’t take a picture of a sunset or sunrise in and of itself. Try to include some context to give a sense of place. This makes for a more interesting photo.”
Consider including any landmarks or other details, such as a uniquely structured bridge. Having people in the foreground will also give a sense of scale.
5. Don’t stress about your camera
Most recent models of mobile phone cameras do a perfectly fine job, says ST photojournalist Gavin Foo.
“These phones actually do a good job of computational imaging, or automatically enhancing your pictures, to make them look great,” he says.
6. Experiment with different tools
Mr Foo says: “Any camera that has a high dynamic range (HDR) function is good too, as the sky is usually much brighter than the foreground.”
HDR imaging helps capture details in scenes with high contrast. In older cameras, the dark areas of a photo would be too dark to make out fine details, while the bright areas would be overexposed.
He adds: “A wide-angle lens may be needed to capture a vast, sweeping portion of the scene. A telephoto lens can be used to isolate objects, to have a picture with fewer distracting elements.”
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