The skies of California ignite the coast at dusk with surreal tones of yellow, orange, and red. The glowing ball of light makes the beaches of Los Angeles come alive in a dreamlike state.
Many photographers make it their mission to capture the alluring colors alongside palm trees and piers that dot the coast of southern California. The silhouettes have proven to be a popular subject for Los Angeles photographers.
With sunsets this breathtaking, almost anyone could snap a photo on their cellphone to achieve a satisfying result, but here at Studio 637 we are constantly striving to produce the highest quality of photo, video, and live streams.
Our Director of Photography, Dylan Pelle, has some insight on how to successfully capture the sunsets of Los Angeles with precision and ease every time. He uses a Sony a7iii with a 24-105mm lens. He says, “living so close to the ocean, the beach is generally the best location for sunset shots because there’s nothing blocking the horizon and it really captures the South Bay at its best. However, there are other times when I’m camping or hiking when certain landscapes or mountains get lit up beautifully.”
Dylan has his go-to settings, but of course they vary based on location and the amount of light available at the time of the shot. “The key take away is that there are a million camera settings you can use to capture what you want, so it’s important to get a sense of your surroundings and figure out what you want to convey in your shot. If you want silhouettes of people, a fast shutter speed is necessary so you can freeze them in time, it also takes in less light, so the setting sun doesn’t blow out the sky.”
He generally uses a high F-stop so everything is in focus. “If I’m by the ocean I like to use a pretty fast shutter speed so I can freeze the shoreline going in and out, but sometimes I like to get a blurry shoreline for a dreamier effect. In that case I’d use a slower shutter speed. For slower shutter speeds, a tripod is necessary to eliminate shaky camera.”
Here are some more helpful tips from Dylan:
- If you want better long exposures for sunset shots, you might consider putting an ND filter over your lens to cut out more light. That way, you can have more leeway with a slower shutter speed to get more exaggerated motion blur without overexposing the sunset.
- Take a moment to see if there are cool cloud formations, in which case the clouds getting lit by the sun in an easterly direction might be way better than just pointing the camera directly at the sunset.
Personally, my favorite places to shoot the setting sun’s brilliant colors are Venice Beach and Huntington Beach. The palm trees in Venice provide depth in the photo, and a minor adjustment to saturation can take the photo to the next level. Huntington Beach teams with people in the evenings at Pacific City shopping center. For amazing shots and a higher vantage point, stake out a spot at the shopping center along Pacific Coast Highway.
Share your shots with us by tagging @Studio637 on Instagram!