Predicting Sunsets and Sunrises

Everyone wants to take photos of sunrises and more want to get a good sunset. I did a quick post last weekend on how I get the colours of those, and today I thought I would give you some tips on how to predict whether you will get a sunset or a sunrise.

One of the things you need to keep an eye on for sunrises, and sunsets, is the weather.  You really need to watch the weather forecast.

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Sunrise

To get a good sunrise the weather for the day you want to take photographs has to be bad, or will be changing for the worse.  If the forecast is for a storm that day, or rain, or something that will be worse than the previous day, then the chances are good for a great sunrise.

The other thing you need is some cloud.  Not so much that they block out the sun as it comes up, but scattered clouds.  If you wake up and can see that the sky is overcast, then chances are you won’t get much.  I usually stay home then.  If you see that there are no clouds in the sky at all, you will get some colour near the horizon, but it won’t be brilliant.  Remember the colours are the sun reflecting off the clouds.

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Sunsets

Sunsets work the same way with the clouds, if you want the ribbons of colour, or the brilliant colours in the sky, then you need the clouds.  Overcast and too think clouds will show nothing.  scattered clouds are the best.

Unlike sunrises, the forecast has to be for brilliant weather the next day.  I think it is good if you have a good day and the forecast for the next day is even better.  The better the weather the next day, the better the sunset.

Of course this is what we predict, it doesn’t actually mean it will happen.  It can all seem like the perfect conditions, and then nothing happens, or not much. Then there will be days where you thought you woudn’t get anything and you get something spectacular. You will also get better sunsets or sunrises depending on the time of year and where you live, that is something that you will have to experiment with.

Good luck, I hope this helps you get some great photos of the colours in the sky.

On a side note, if you have enjoyed this post or learned something new, please remember this is how I make my living, so it would be wonderful if you would consider making a small donation.

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9 Responses

  1. Bernadette

    Wonderful, Thankyou so much, best advise that I have found and look forward to beautiful sunrises and sunsets xxx

  2. Leanne,
    thanks for the tips. Your images truly show the best way to use sunsets as the most perfect kind of backdrop, much better than any studio backdrop. Growing up in the hills and woods I never saw many sunsets until I moved out on the prairie.

    http://www.mykuhls.com/Landscapes/Most-popular-ND-Landscape/26672008_WBC3vD#!i=2231459211&k=gbrw6pS&lb=1&s=A

    • leannewhatever

      I agree Mike, a sunset can be a great backdrop for a photo. Yours is pretty spectacular. I hardly ever seem to get them. I am sure if I spent more time up at my mothers I could get more like yours. Thank you.

  3. I agree with the necessity for clouds, and you have to take local weather quirks into consideration. For example here in CHCH we often have great clouds in the sky after a norwester but it also seems to build up cloud banks in the southwest RIGHT where the sun sets, so we often don’t get a clear horizon for the sun to do its thing.

    Not being a morning person I am not a fan of sunrises but its at its very latest at this time of year here and I have seen several pretty ones when I open my curtains in the morning, getting ready for work. Note that cold frosty nights generally mean no clouds – had to figure that one out the hard way LOL

    • leannewhatever

      Getting up early is terrible, actually I like getting up early but I don’t like leaving the house. Yes, if you aren’t a morning person right now is the best time to get them. I should head down to the coast, see what I can get before it starts happening earlier. Yes, frosty morning, we haven’t had any of those this year so far, fog would also mean you couldn’t see it.
      Clouds will make the sunset or sunrise, but they can also make it impossible, thanks.

  4. Wow, Leanne, you have to be expert at predicting sunrises/sunsets judging from these phenomenal shots! I haven’t visited in a while. What’s with the blog? Or am I on the wrong one? I LIKE this. Showcasing your gorgeous work with no distractions! Way to go! 🙂

    • leannewhatever

      Hi George, nice to hear from you, this is the blog on my website, so a self hosted one, I guess you could say. I have been changing some things. The other blog is still there, it has had a facelift too.
      Some of it is luck George, but I think you can sort of predict whether you will get one or not. I knew when I went out last night that we wouldn’t get a sunset, well, not a pretty one.

Talk to me, it is too quiet.