a stunning sunset blankets the horizon with a small fishing boat in the foreground

Shot Settings – Sunset in the Galapagos Islands

Here at Natural Photographer, due to popular demand, we’re starting a new category of article.  Shot Settings will be a new way for you to browse through photos quickly and see the detailed “metadata”, aka shot settings, for each.  In addition to a select photo, I’ll put a quick few sentences on any special circumstances that allowed me to get such a shot, as well as quick notes on what post processing techniques I used to get the photo portfolio-ready.

a stunning sunset blankets the horizon with a small fishing boat in the foreground

Shot Settings: f/4.0, 1/200, ISO 320.

Post Processing: increased brightness; increased contrast; increased saturation; color temp 5350k

Sunsets in the Galapagos Islands are a definite highlight of ones time in this paradise.  Big open vistas and that equatorial sun turn into spectacular photos nearly every night.

Sunsets by themselves are great, but if you can find something as a “subject” to put into the foreground, it adds a lot of context to the shot.  Here I saw a small fishing boat surrounded by birds to focus on, and compose with it in the bottom right.

For settings themselves, I needed to shoot fast enough to freeze motion, but because the boat and birds were rather far away, 1/200 was satisfactory.  For landscape shots I also try and shoot at the lowest ISO possible, as it helps really deliver the quality one wants and expects from scenic shots.

As a result, to capture enough light, I had to shoot at a relatively shallow depth of field—f/4.  However, because I was using a telephoto lens (my go-to for big sunsets) it helped “compress” the boat optically closer to the horizon, allowing everything to be in focus, even at a shallow depth of field.  Plus, sunsets already have a slightly wispy look, so if it’s not tack sharp, it’s excusable.

For post-processing, I made minimal adjustments, but increasing contrast (which lightens the light spots while darkening the dark spots) added a really nice vibe.  Plus, with sunsets, photos handle saturation rather well, as they’re already sosaturated to the naked eye…increasing saturation on the computer just helps match the photo to that magic moment.

Stay tuned for another Shot Settings post soon.  And if you have any special requests, please do leave a comment below!


Court Whelan Signature