Shooting Silhouettes at Cooper Island

cooper island sunset photography sailboat
Cooper Island Sunset
Sunsets:  They're pretty, they're peaceful and you want to remember them.  For many people sunset is their favorite time of day.  We all love to gaze into the dimming sky to see colors that make their debut and disappear 10 minutes later.

From a photographer's standpoint, sunsets present some technical challenges.  The dim light requires larger apertures or a longer shutter speed.  The extreme differences in contrast are another problem.  You cannot naturally have the bright sunset and a dark sailboat each shown in detail.  You must choose which you want to photograph (specifically, which will you expose for).  For most of us, the sky is the star of the show and we should expose for that.

An automatic camera will expose for the whole scene.  In this case, that won't work and you'll lose details in the sky.  I set my camera on manual exposure, take a test shot and check my histogram.  You can also enable "highlight alert" on Canon camera which will flash on and off if highlights are overexposed.  Using this and my histogram, I dial my exposure down to record those lovely colors in the sky.

Shooting this way causes the sailboats to be silhouettes.  I can live with that.
sunset british virgin island from sailboat
Silhouette Sunset at Jost Van Dyke