Sunrise and Sunset Photos of Buildings

[Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm, ISO 125, ƒ/11, 8 sec] 6:37 am
My mornings sometimes start really early for photo shoots. Today I woke up at 5:00 am for a photo shoot at sunrise. Sunrise was scheduled to happen at 6:50 am.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 100, ƒ/18, 30 sec] 6:12 am
I arrived about 5:40 am at the location and setup two Alienbees B1600 strobes with 50º reflectors.

[Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm, ISO 125, ƒ/10, 3 sec] 6:35 am
You can see one of the two lights here on the left and the other is by the flag pole. I shot with the Nikon D5 as well as my Fuji X-E3.

[Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm, ISO 125, ƒ/10, 1.5 sec] 6:37 am
I put the cameras on Manual Mode. I was shooting up to 30 second exposures with aperture of ƒ/10 to ƒ/22. ISO was 100 on D5 and 125 on the Fuji X-E3.

[Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm, ISO 125, ƒ/10, 1.6 sec] 6:34 am
This photo was taken with just available light.  It was shot at 6:34 am. The sun is slowly rising but isn’t up yet. It has 16 more minutes until Sunrise. The sky behind the building looks darker, but the longer shutter speeds bring it out as dark blue sky.

I find that approximately 20 minutes before sunrise and 20 minutes after sunset you get the best ratio of the lights inside the buildings and signage verses the night time sky is the best. Looking at the photo above shot at 6:12 am which was 38 minutes before sunrise the sky is too dark for me.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 100, ƒ/22, 13 sec] 6:30 am
Here at 6:30 am, good 20 minutes before sunrise, the sky looks just perfect match to the lights in and on the restaurant.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 100, ƒ/18, 30 sec] 6:20 am
At 6:20 am I can make the sky look great at 30 second shutter speed, but the lights start to lose details. 10 minutes later I get the sky and the lights just perfect.

If you want to do this yourself here are the tips for Sunrise or Sunset.


Before shoot arrange to have lights turned on for photo shoot
Arrive 1 hour before Sunrise or Sunset
Use Tripod & Cable Release
If using flash set it to match your Aperture or -1 stop
Start taking photos at least 35 minutes before Sunrise and 5 minutes for Sunset
Take photos for about 5 minutes after Sunrise and 30 minutes after Sunset

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