Everybody loves a good sunset. There’s just something magical about them; in mere minutes, the sky turns into a light show that’s gone almost as soon as it started. No matter who you are, there’s a natural tendency to stop and watch a breathtaking sunset.
The Psychology of Sunsets
Enjoying the sunset isn’t just a brief act of appreciation. Engaging with natural beauty carries many positive benefits. Research into the way we interact with beauty found that greater engagement with natural beauty was associated with higher levels of life satisfaction.
Another study found that the benefits of connecting with nature only correlated with people who were attuned to how beautiful nature can be. Researchers found that connecting with nature only predicted well-being in people who were attuned to the beauty of nature. What’s more beautiful than a sunset? Watching the sun go down is a great way to relax and reconnect with the beauty of the natural world.
How Sunsets Are Made
The vivid colors of a sunset come from a phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering. It’s why the sky appears blue during the day. Sunlight’s spectrum contains all the colors of the rainbow, but not all wavelengths of light reach our eyes in the same concentration. Our atmosphere amplifies and bounces around blue and violet light, which is what creates our blue sky.
At sunset, light has to travel further to reach our eyes, so even more light gets filtered out. That leaves us with the warmer hues of the visible spectrum– the sunset colors. It’s also why sunsets can be so tricky to photograph!
How To Get A Good Sunset Photo
The full beauty of a glowing sunset is one of the most challenging subjects to capture in nature photography. Sunset landscape photography is even more difficult because you have to balance lots of competing light values and shadows. You often either lose the glow, the detail, or both, and it takes work to capture the fullness and depth of the beauty that you see.
Location is important for good sunset photos. If you’re trying to take the perfect sunset photo in midtown Manhattan, you’re going to struggle to see it through the buildings! Getting out of urban centers and choosing locations near the water or in wild areas can lead to spectacular sunset shots. That’s not to discount buildings entirely – they can look great and help frame your image just the way you want. It’s all about building contrast and choosing a backdrop that’s interesting and beautiful.
Max Foster has spent much of his professional career chasing the perfect sunset. If you can’t make it to the Amalfi Coast or the Alaskan wilderness to get your shot, let one of Max’s fine art prints of the sunset adorn your walls and bring that natural beauty into your space.
The Grand Canyon is an American landmark that’s become an emblem of the wild, untamed spirit of the west. In Heading West, a photograph of a Grand Canyon sunset, the sun’s last orange rays reach out over sunkissed sandstone and scrubby juniper. The Colorado River snakes away towards the sun, creating a sense of motion juxtaposed with the evening stillness.
The sun on the water gives Teton Treasures, an image of Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park, an ethereal glow, which makes the mountains in the midground appear to float in a sea of pink. The contrast of craggy mountain, smooth pebbles, and impossibly soft layered clouds create a visual symphony that will capture your imagination.
Northern Exposure captures an Alaskan sunset and the beauty of the Gates of the Arctic National Park. Tender pinks and purples in the sky contrast the strong greens, deep blues, and bold reds of the foliage. Shimmering water creates beautiful, abstract, pastel reflections of the clouds that draw you in. You’ll feel transported to the perfect moment as the Arctic sun begins to dip behind the pines.
Oia in Santorini is a beautiful, picturesque village known for the dazzling beauty of its sunsets. Every evening, the sun sinks into the Aegean and treats an adoring audience to a beautiful light show over the sea. Glowrious captures domed houses and buildings stretching into the distance as a church bell sits in quiet contemplation.
The town of Positano is the jewel of the Amalfi Coast. Charming villas and buildings drape its hills in bright colors, and at night, the soft lamplight from these buildings create a twinkling blanket. In Sparkling Positano, the cozy glow of the sunset and the lamplight work together to draw the viewer’s eye and make them feel right at home.
For more dazzling sunsets, check out the full Sunset Gallery! Each one of these sunset images is an escape from the daily grind and is available as a framed or unframed fine art print.