For students (and others) seeking a photography minor, the lake is a source of artistic fodder, with hours spent perched on its shore seeking the perfect picture. The lake is among the most popular spots to gather for a sunset photo session during Reunion Weekend. Jim Russell ’83, SUNY Oswego’s campus photographer, has spent decades photographing this elusive subject. Here are his tips for photographing a Lake Ontario sunset.
Wispy clouds are best for sunsets. In Oswego, great sunsets can happen right after a storm passes through, bringing in drier air.
Employ some basic rules of composition used by landscape photographers. Include an object in the foreground to help create the illusion of depth; hold the camera level to the horizon; and frame the scene with natural surroundings to emphasize the subject.
Expose for the sky, not the sun. For close-ups of people with the sunset as a background, use fill flash. Set the camera exposure for the sky, then combine that with automatic flash. If your camera is automatic-only, be sure to set the flash control to “fill-flash” (always on). Be careful where you place the horizon line to avoid intersecting your subject’s neck or ears.
A low camera viewpoint can emphasize the waves splashing against the rocks.
Useful items: A tripod for slow shutter speed. A graduated neutral density filter used against the sky will boost foreground detail.