In December 2009 I attended a course on landscape photography, organised by Bas Meelker. Besides a series of theoretical sessions, we also had two practical sessions. One during sunrise and one during sunset. Although it took place already over a year ago, I still liked to create a blog post about the sunset session. All photos are clickable for a larger version.

The five photographs all show the same location, the Helper mill near Groningen, with similar compositions. But, they were all taken at different times with different camera settings, especially different shutter speeds. Have a good look on the meta data shown and find the differences.

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Taken around a quarter of an hour later, the second image already has a nice smooth water surface due to a 5 seconds increase in the shutter time. The sky and its reflection in the water, however, don’t show much colour. There is plenty of colour available though, but we need much slower shutter speeds.

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To achieve that slow shutter speed we need some additional tools: filters. In this case Graduated Neutral Density (ND) filters. I borrowed a set here from Bas. I think I used an ND8 soft. The result is in the third image, which is my favourite from this series. Shutter speed slowed down to well over a minute now!

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The last two photographs show that the period of time after sunset where a landscape photographer can benefit from the great colours in the sky is actually very short. The nice feature with the mill is that it is lit from around 6 PM.

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On the last photo we already lost quite some of the colours and intensity. Nevertheless, I personally like this atmosphere. The dark, moving clouds actually do bring that extra touch.

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Recently, I ordered my own set of Lee ND Graduated filters. Since Lee is a very small company, they have a hard time delivering all orders. Still, the quality of their products is very high. Result: I will have to wait until around March before my order will be delivered. After I have them, I will return to this location and post some more results.

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