Sunset at Motney Hill

Sunset at Motney Hill

My first workshop since lockdown restrictions were lifted took place on the 5th August. The sun was gracious enough to put in an appearance with just the right amount of cloud cover.

Participants were all very friendly and keen to learn which made for a really enjoyable fantastic evening.

The Ship Wreck

Motney Hill is in my opinion the best place in Medway to capture a sunset during the summer months. With the sun setting across the water/mud flats and the ship wreck for added interest, what's not to love. If the tide is in you get the reflections on the calm water. When it's out you have the water channels across the mud flats. Great for leading lines.

Where is the Sun

First we looked at how to plan a shoot with the use of apps such as Photopills and Tides near me. Tides near me will give you High and Low tides up to a week in advance. Photopills not only gives you Sunrise and Sunset times but it will also show you the direction of the sun and when the golden and blue hours will occur.

Thinking about composition.

We then started to think about composition. Giving consideration to the rule of thirds and leading lines or just simply "We like what we see". In the image on the right, the sun rays provide leading lines to the centre of the image with the ship wreck on the third.

Under expose for the sun.

Once the participants were happy with their composition we started to look at depth of field and exposure. With sunset photography it's important to avoid a blown out blob of light in the sky. The sun does not have to be in your image, but if it is you will need to under expose by at least two to three stops. You should then still have enough detail in your shadows when shooting with raw to bring up some detail in post production. If there is little movement in your image you may want to consider using multiple exposure bracketing.

Use of Colour filters

Coloured filters can be used to enhance a sunset. There are pro's and cons to this depending on the image you are looking to create. For example don't use a graduated filter if it cuts across a key element of an image. You wouldn't want a tall building with a different colour tinge on top of it. Colour filters can also be added in post production. DXO Nik Collection is great for this and works as a plugin to Lightroom and Photoshop. Neutral density filters can be used to slow down your shutter speed to get calm waters and cloud trails.

We observed the change in light as we moved from the golden to blue hour.

taken on my iPhone 6

Never pack away your camera as soon as the sun disappears. Some of the greatest colours in the sky occur just after sunset in the blue hour.

We finished the evening with an impromptu camera phone session. With our kit packed away walking back to our cars we spotted this scene to your left. Notice how the water channel makes an excellent leading line to that sky line.

Remember the best camera is the one you always have on you.

For more information on my workshops and 1 to 1 tuition please visit my website at


Telephone 07493 070207/01634 711275

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