Our 7 Favorite Reader Photos from the “Sunrises & Sunsets” Assignment

Sunset in the Clouds
Emilio Fernandez captured this sunset using a Canon EOS 5DS R in black-and-white mode “because it had more impact.” © Emilio Fernandez

Without a doubt, the most popular images on the Internet (aside from cat photos) are of sunrises and sunsets. What is it about these daily acts of nature that so inspire us? It’s hard to say but easy to see.

Even the most jaded photographers still feel a tingle when watching the sun come up in the morning or go down in the evening, and reach for their camera (or smartphone) to capture the moment. Obviously, sunrises require a little more commitment, namely waking up early enough and preparing to shoot when you’re likely not fully awake. Sunsets? Well, everybody and their brother have shot those but clearly some captures are better than others.

For this assignment, we asked you to submit only the sunrise or sunset images you thought were truly spectacular and unique. Yes, it was a tough assignment and there were many great entries but these seven images from Shutterbug readers truly shined out.

First Light from the Pinnacle
“I took this at the Pinnacle in the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park looking out over the valley below on a very cold winter morning,” Joshua T. Moore explains. “The light lit up the trees, allowing me to soak up the details.” It was captured with a Nikon D7000 and a Nikkor 18-55mm lens. © Joshua T. Moore

Peering From Behind the Pier
Jolanta Mazur shot this sunset at the Ocean Beach Pier in San Diego, California. “What attracted me to the scene was the silhouettes of the fishermen on the pier set against the sun,” Mazur writes. It was captured with a Sony NEX-6 and a 55-210mm lens at 1/400 second, f/7.1, ISO 100. © Jolanta Mazur

Clymers Sunset
“This barn was on my list to photograph at sunset,” John E. Troxler says. “Luckily for me I arrived just in time to catch the sun peeking through the barn door opening.” He shot it with a Nikon D810 and a Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 lens at 1/320 second, f/11, ISO 400. © John E. Troxler

Sunrise over Washington, DC
“I used to live about an hour away from Washington, DC, and so a sunrise visit was always a bit of a gamble—what will the sun actually do?” Steven Heap notes. “On this occasion, I was aiming to get some reflections in the newly updated reflecting pool and the weather and clouds gave me a beautiful show. I wanted to get a good frame and the columns of the Lincoln Memorial provided that perfect lead into the shot.” Shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a 24-105mm f/4 lens set to 55mm at ISO 200 and f/18 to get the depth of field needed. © Steven Heap

Kruger Sunset
“On safari in Kruger Park, we knew the sunset would be epic so we raced along trying to find a good foreground,” Douglas Croft writes. “When we saw this Marula tree, we knew we had it.” He shot it with a Nikon D7000 and a Nikkor 18-200mm lens at ISO 400, f/8, 1/125 second. © Douglas Croft

Sailing Into Sunset
Gerald Swede captured this shot in Key West, Florida, which he says is one of his favorite places for sunsets. (We couldn’t agree more!) It was captured with a Nikon D300 and a Nikkor 70-300mm VR zoom lens set at 220mm. It was shot at f/9, 1/250 second, ISO 640 with Matrix metering in shutter priority mode. “The white balance was direct sun and was plus one stop to offset shooting into the sun,” Swede says.
© Gerald Swede

To enter your photos in our Picture This assignments, visit Shutterbug’s Galleries.