Sunrise or Sunset?

Q. Sunrise or Sunset? Which is best?Q. And is it worth hanging around after the sun has set? Q. And is it worth taking pictures before the sun has risen?


Yes, it's a bind getting up in the morning really early and I always think that winter will be easier because you can get up later, but I just find it just as hard because it's cold, and has a feeling of 'dread' about it when you get up in the dark. These are certainly the times when I reckon I've lost my marbles and should see a psychiatrist....

But I've learned that sunrise is often much, much better than sunset.

For one thing, the temperature is low, so there tends to be no wind, and if it's been really cold, there's a lot of frost around and even fog - I've seen localised fog in small patches in the morning. You really don't often get that in the evening because the earth is giving off all the heat it's been storing up all day.....

As for hanging around after sunset... yes, it's definitely worth it.

The trick is to keep shooting - you may feel you're not getting anything because it feels to you that the best light has gone, but I've often found some of the best light in the morning happens before the sun pops over the edge of the horizon - so it's conversely true for sunset as well. The light at this time is very very soft, so shooting at this time and letting the built in light meter over expose it (this is what it will do - it will try to make it like day light), is really interesting and I tend to see lots of 'weird' things happen.  Shutter speeds are longer, so you get blur of clouds, movement in the grass etc... and the colours are a bit strange too.

And I guess the other thing is that the camera tends to pick up things you didn't register. There may be some subtle colours going on which you weren't aware of at the time, yet I've seen my Velvia film come back with traces of colours I didn't see.

So the short answer is yes. Definitely worth shooting before sunrise and shooting after sunset. My preference is for sunrise because of the atmospheric conditions I've described above. But it really comes down to you.... it's all about what you see and what you want to make of it.

There are never any hard and fast rules. Just be open to what is presented to you, and run with it.