For people who are dreaming of going on a honeymoon which amalgamates adventure, culture, and nature without any compromises on luxurious accommodation and fine dining, then a trip to Peru will tick all the boxes. You get to avail all the amenities without even staying at a hotel. You must be wondering whether that is at all possible or it is a joke. It’s not a gag because there is a travel agency which lets a couple indulge in luxurious facilities while hiking along the famous Inca Trail. To know more about the travel organizers and the trip package, continue reading this write-up.
1. A combination: The Peru Honeymoon Packages provided by Phototoursperu pin together adventure and luxury. The trip will include every imaginable amenity that you can use while scaling the Inca Trail. There will be comfortable air mattresses, hot water for washing and bathing, portable toilet, gourmet food, and fine beverages.
2. The trip starts: Your honeymoon begins with a bang as you start heading down to see the remains of one of the most intelligent civilizations of the world. Porters will be carrying all your belongings during the tour on Peru Honeymoon Packages. The guides of the travel agency know about all the off-beat tracks to make your journey different and memorable.
3. Easy and hard days: As you can imagine, trekking along mountains is not going to be a piece of cake. You and your partner should prepare yourselves physically to be able to handle the stress. If you can acclimatize well with the changing attitudes, you will surely have the time of your life. Not every day of the hike is going to be tough. For example, the second day of the trek will be relatively easy.
4. Long walks: After crossing the smooth areas, you step into the taxing regions. The third day of the trip will make you cross two high passes. Though, by the end of the second day of the walk, you will be close to the first pass. You will witness several Inca sites while trudging along to Machu Picchu, the jewel on the crown.
5. The prize: There is a saying that mentions an award at the end of a tiresome journey. In this case, the gift is the fabled halls of the Incan citadel. Your excitement will start to choke you while moving closer to the trail entry and taking the first incredible view of Machu Picchu.
6. The final day: Your travel organizers and guides will leave you two alone to explore the sacred city of the Incas. Or you can follow the guide to learn about the rich history of the civilization and the myths that surround the archeological wonders of this place. You may even climb the Huayna Picchu if you enjoy it. In effect, you get two days to experience this wonder.
How many travel agencies can you find out which provides body massage every day for relieving you from the physical stresses of hiking up the Inca Trail? There is only one travel organization, which provides such facilities and the website is there within the boundaries of this topic. Visit the website to find out further details of the honeymoon trip packages.
THE TOP 10 TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN PERUVIEW MAPHISTORIC SITES IN PERUWHAT ARE THE TOP TOURISM SITES IN PERU?Last updated 4 months ago 10 min readFrom the breathtaking peaks of the Andes to the dense jungle of the Amazon, Peru is a top destination for any traveller looking for adventure. Every year millions of tourists flock to explore the incredible tourist attractions of Peru and to discover the county’s ancient heritage.
But with so many places to choose from, selecting a definitive list of the top ten tourist attractions in Peru is no simple task. So we’ve deliberated, ruminated and cogitated to pick out ten of the best sights in Peru for visitors and, though we’ve often gone for the more obvious attractions, we’ve snuck in a couple of less recognisable places too…
So whether you’re planning a demanding mountain trek or a calming city retreat, our selection of the top ten visitor attractions in Peru will provide the inspiration you need to get planning. You can explore our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Peru list below and don’t forget you can always discover more fascinating places to visit in our full list of Peru’s sites.
1. CHAN CHANFans of archaeological sites will have a feast at the ancient city of Chan Chan, which literally translates as “Sun Sun”. Relatively unknown when compared to the country’s other ancient attractions, this astonishing city is nevertheless one of the very best places in Peru to explore. Not only is it the world’s largest adobe city, it is also the largest pre-Colombian city in the Americas. Developed around 1300 AD as the capital of the Chimu Kingdom, Chan Chan enjoyed centuries of prominence until it was overtaken by the Incas and eventually abandoned. Visitors can easily spend hours exploring the extensive site, which is made up of plazas, streets, houses, gardens, temples and reservoirs. There are even mausoleums where Chimu kings were buried along with their wives and their riches.
Wildlife Watching Locations
Heath River - Tambopata areaPeru has several excellent locations for watching wildlife. There are national parks and protected areas with good tourist facilities. These areas provide good opportunities for viewing wildlife. Here is a map of Peru showing the locations of many of these parks.
Reptiles of PeruPeru has around 300 species of reptiles of which around 100 are endemic. Peru's reptile fauna includes spectacular species like giant anacondas and caimans, as well as many other snakes, lizards and turtles.
Spectacled Caiman - Caiman crocodilusCrocodilians
Birds of PeruPeru has over 1800 species of birds - the second highest number of any country. New species of birds are still being discovered and catalogued by scientists. 42 species have been officially added to science in the last 30 years.
Avibase - Peru Bird Checklist
A complete checklist of the birds of Peru provided by Avibase, including endemic, endangered, threatened, and accidental status.
A complete selection of the recommended Field guides and birding location guides.
Updates to "A Field Guide to the Birds of Peru" by Clements.
Depending on the authority you consult between 125 and 139 species are endemic to Peru.
Birding trip reports
List of over 200 trip reports and links to other collections of trip reports.
Marine Mammals of PeruShort-beaked Common Dolphin - Delphinus delphis
Photo by Giovanni BearziPeru has about 35 species of marine mammals, in which we include whales, dolphins, poroises, sea lions, seals and sea otters. There are 21 species of small cetaceans. Most of these live in open waters but only two species, the Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the Burmeister's Porpoise (Phocaena spinnipinis), live in inshore waters.
List of Marine Mammals
Mammals of Peru
Brown Capuchin Monkey
Common Woolly Monkey - Lagothrix lagotricha
Peru has over 500 species of mammals, of which about 70 are endemic and about 100 are threatened or endangered. These include spectacular species like the Jaguar and Spectacled Bear and rare endemic species like the Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey.Land MammalsAndean Cat
Northern Viscacha - Lagidium peruanum
Marsh Deer - Blastocerus dichotomus
Photo by Mariano Gimenez Dixon.
The Inca Trail Ollantaytambo to Wayllabamba
This is the easiest part of the trail. It starts at approximately 2800 m (9,000 ft) along the Urubamba River. The scenery is that of small farms and agriculture land. Cultivation is most prominent near the junction with Cusichaca River. Tall Eucalyptus globulus (Eucalipto) trees dominate the valley floor. These originally Australian trees are now the most important source of timber and firewood in the area. If the trees are in bloom with flowers like fluffy white brushes, they are intensively visited by hummingbirds.Scottish Broom: Spartium junceum (Retama) is another introduced and now rampant species. Nevertheless, the bright yellow flowers (Picture) brighten up the landscape.Tecoma sambucifolia (Huaranhuay) is another bright yellow flowering shrub that is quite common. Near houses the white flowering Sambucus peruviana (Sauco) is planted. Opuntia sp., Schinchus molle (Molle), and Prunus capuli (Capuli) are also common near homesteads.Once you move into the Cusichaca valley you can clearly see the vegetation zones along the slopes (picture). In the valley bottom, there is a scrubby forest with Agave americana (Maguey), , Furcraea andina (Maguey). Cestrum sp., Fuchsia boliviana, Passiflora tripartita, Erythrina edulis (Pisonay) and others. Distinctive is the very spiny "Tara" tree or Caesalpina spinosa.The zone above this low valley forest is low, open scrubland which, when seen from a distance appears as a hazy green layer. This zone is dominated by the low shrub Dodonaea viscosa (Chamana) of the Sapindaceae family. Above this Chamana zone starts grassland or real Puna. Chamana is very flamable but resitant to fire itself. The annual fires started by the farmers to maintain the Puna for pasture kill nearly everything else in the Chamana belt and thus maintain the virtually pure stands of this species.On steep cliffs a number of Bromeliads can be found Puya densiflora is a terrestrial species with narrow, spiny leaves. Tillandsia paleacea is small species with purple flowers growing on rocks. The large Bromeliad covering steep rock slopes is possibly Tillandsia fendleri (picture). The orchid Epidendrum secundum is also found here but not as common as later on near Machu Picchu.A common shrub or small tree near farmhouses higher up the valley is Nicotiana tomentosa (Camasto) which is a type of Tobacco. The plant is not very attractive but usually bears large bunches of pinkish flowers which are simply irresistible to humming birds. It is worth while to wait here and catch a glimpse of the Giant hummingbird. This species is indeed a giant among the hummingbirds and apart from its size it is characterized by its(compared to other hummers at least) slow wing beat.Other hummingbirds I saw here include the Sparkling violet ear (Colibri coruscans) and the Long tailed-sylph (Aglaiocercus kingii).A true gem along this trail is the spiny shrub Barnadesia macbridae/horrida (Llaulli). This plant is an Asteraceae (Compositae) but has very unusual flowers for an Asteraceae. The flowers are shaped as a small trumpet and combined with the bright pink color, it is obvious that the species has evolved to attract Hummingbirds as pollinatorsAnd indeed, Hummingbirds are strongly attracted to the Llaulli flower. Therefore, if you like bird watching, it is good to keep an eye open for this plant.This section of the trail ends in Wayllabamba at approximately 3000 meters (9,400 ft). After here the going will get a lot tougher
Wayllabamba to Phuyopatamarca
This part of the trek is the most strenuous. Soon after you leave Wayllabamba, you can see the next goal; Warmiwañusca at 4265 m (13,650 ft) looming way in the distance. The first section of the trail goes through a similar valley-bottom forest as we saw along the Cusichaca valley. Only it is somewhat higher here, possibly because of diminishing human disturbance. Officially this forest is classified as "Submontane, Subtropical, Very Humid Forest". Species that I noted here include Alnus acuminata/jorulensis, Fuchsia boliviana, Barnadesiamacbridae/horrida (Llaulli), Oreopanax ischnolobus (Maqui Maqui), Passiflora tripartita, Piper elongatum (Moco Moco) Rubus bogotensis, Lycopersicon parviflorum (Climbing with yellow flowers), Duranta armata, Stenomesson pearce (Amarylidaceae), Clusia sp. This forest is quite dense with an understory of ferns. Sometimes the trail comes out of the forest and reaches into the Puna. Such spots are good places to see butterflies. When you dive back into the forest, it has become a "Polylepis forest" This unique forest is dominated by Polylepis spp (Queuña). This forest with its gnarled trees covered with moss and a dense understory of herbs, is quite enchanting. Around every corner you expect a troll or at least a hobbit. No such thing occurs here though, but the forest is teeming with birds.Polylepis belong to the Rosaceae family and is easily recognized by it's pinately compound leaves with expanded petiole base (see drawing right). The thin, flaky, reddish bark and thick trunks with twisting branches are another good characteristic. The genus is strictly Andean and forming almost pure stands at altitudes that should support Puna.Unfortunately, Polylepis forest is one of the most threatened forest types in the world. Originally it covered large areas in the high Andes, but generations of farmers burning the Puna to provide grazing for Llamas and Alpacas have reduced the forest cover immensely. Mature Polylepis can survive fire, but seedlings and young trees can not. As a result, the Polylepis forest shrinks a little after every Puna fire. For more information see the links that I put in the left margin.Ultimately, you leave the forest behind and come into the real Puna. This is an open landscape dominated by grasses (Ichu). This last stretch to the first pass is steep and strenuous. You may see grazing Llamas and Alpacas here. If you are lucky you may see raptors soaring above you. The Condor is very rare and threatened by extinction, so don't have your hopes too high for this one, but the most common larger bird is the Mountain Caracara. This attractive bird often allows close up looks.On top of the Warmiwañusca at 4265 m (13,650 ft) you may want to indulge in a snow fight, if you have any energy left that is. Having come so high, it is kind of depressing to look down on the steep downward trail but there are interesting things to see here. Just below the pass, there is a curious collection of huge boulders, this is where Viscachas live. These rabit-like relatives of the Chinchilla (which is now extinct in the wild) often just sit there on a boulder, looking rather sleepy. They are usually so inactive that you may suspect that they are really just stuffed animals.At the bottom of this slope lies Pacaymayu (3500 m - 11,200 ft). This is the largest camp site along the trail and quite a depressing place because of its frequent overcrowding. The camp lies at the tip of a Polylepis forest that follows the valley towards the Urubamba River, way below. This forest shows clear signs of recent fire damage.From Pacamayu it is up again into the Puna towards the second pass which lies just above Runcurakay. Along the trail grow many Odentoglossum mystacinum orchids.Near the second pass (3963 m - 12,680 ft) there are some small alpine "black water" lakes. Typically there is hardly any vegetation in these lakes, but some of these lakes are now filling up with vegetation. Possibly a result of nutrient input due to vast amounts of hikers and their porters defecating nearby?These lakes are supposedly also good sites to see deer, but I didn't even find any tracks of deer, so they are probably very scarce.
Below the second pass, you plunge back into the Polylepis or Queuña forest. The forest is actually quite similar to a cloud forest. As in a real cloud forest the trees are often laden with Epiphytes such as Bromeliads and Orchids. Very soon you will reach to an more open spot which actually has a Sphagnum or Peat Bog. The vegetation here is low, more like an "elfin forest" Many orchids and other interesting low plants can be found here. Very characteristic is a small treefern (or at least a fern with a trunk) that I initially mistook to be a Cycad.From here on, the last stretch to Phuyopatamarca (3711 m - 11,875 ft) is not that strenuous.
Phuyopatamarca to Machu Picchu
The views from Phuyopatamarca (3711 m - 11,875 ft) are breath taking and you might wish to spend a longer time here. But Machu Picchu is beckoning! The trip is mostly down from now on. Very soon we enter forest again. Initially there is still Polylepis but soon the forest changes and we renew our acquaintance with species as Oreopanax ischnolobus, Alnus acuminata/jorulensis, Clusia sp., Fuchia sp., Piper elongatum etc. Unfortunately, the forest is strongly degraded by past fires.Finally the forest gets a more tropical character. Species found here include Melastomataceae, Anthuriums, Begonia's, Lichens, Mosses etc.An interesting plant is Begonia parviflora. The Begonias that we are familiar with are low herbs that perform very well as a potted plant on our windowsill. But this species is actually a small tree!In spite of the fire damage that is obvious to the trained eye, this forest is again quite enchanting. Also along this road are some of the more amazing Inca sites that the normal visitor to Machu Picchu never gets to see.Finally at the Sun Gate - Inti Puncu (2760 m - 8,800 ft), just after you have lamented "I thought we were supposed to go down", there lies Machu Picchu below you in the haze!This is the reward of a long hike and for many hikers a very emotional moment. From here on it is a long and (unshaded) rush to the site and many might forget to look at the plants along the trail. Particularly common are various orchids such as the Sobralia's and the Winya Wayna or Epidendrum secundum which comes in orange and pink varieties.Once you are in Machu Picchu (2430 m - 7,870 ft) and feeling reckless, you might want to climb the famous Huana Picchu (or Wayna Picchu, the spelling varies)(2640 m - 8,450 ft). After all, it is there! and you are now fully trained!The climb of Huana Picchu however, is something else. It is not that far, but steeper than any other part of the trail. Also, it is rather dangerous. The climb is steep and crowded with people trying to pass each other on narrow stairways. The soil through which the trail is carved is clinging rather precariously on the steep rock and sooner or later parts of it may simply slide down. Hope you are not there when this happens!Should you decide to go, and the weather is nice, you will be rewarded with stunning views and interesting plant life. This is where I finally found the Masdevallia veitschiana orchid Near the entrance gate of the park Erythrina edulis (Pisonay) is common and very colorful. From the entrance gate to Machu Picchu it is still a ways down to Aguas Calientes (2000 m - 6,400 ft). Going down you will notice that the vegetation gradually gets more tropical. This is especially the case at the bottom of the valley where typically tropical plants such as Heliconia become abundant. One noticeable difference with a tropical forest though... you will see no wild palms here (apart from some planted in Hotel gardens)!This concludes my ecological interpretation of the Inca Trail. Much more remains to be said and shown, but there is no space left and you have to discover it on your own. Enjoy!
Initial DNA analysis of Paracas elongated skull released – with incredible results
Paracas is a desert peninsula located within the Pisco Province in the Ica Region, on the south coast of Peru. It is here were Peruvian archaeologist, Julio Tello, made an amazing discovery in 1928 – a massive and elaborate graveyard containing tombs filled with the remains of individuals with the largest elongated skulls found anywhere in the world. These have come to be known as the ‘Paracas skulls’. In total, Tello found more than 300 of these elongated skulls, which are believed to date back around 3,000 years. A DNA analysis has now been conducted on one of the skulls and expert Brien Foerster has released preliminary information regarding these enigmatic skulls.
It is well-known that most cases of skull elongation are the result of cranial deformation, head flattening, or head binding, in which the skull is intentionally deformed by applying force over a long period of time. It is usually achieved by binding the head between two pieces of wood, or binding in cloth. However, while cranial deformation changes the shape of the skull, it does not alter its volume, weight, or other features that are characteristic of a regular human skull.
The Paracas skulls, however, are different. The cranial volume is up to 25 percent larger and 60 percent heavier than conventional human skulls, meaning they could not have been intentionally deformed through head binding/flattening. They also contain only one parietal plate, rather than two. The fact that the skulls’ features are not the result of cranial deformation means that the cause of the elongation is a mystery, and has been for decades.
An artist’s impression based on a Paracas skull. Photo credit: Marcia Moore / Ciamar Studio
Mr. Juan Navarro, owner and director of the local museum, called the Paracas History Museum, which houses a collection of 35 of the Paracas skulls, allowed the taking of samples from 5 of the skulls. The samples consisted of hair, including roots, a tooth, skull bone and skin, and this process was carefully documented via photos and video. The samples were sent to the late Lloyd Pye, founder of the Starchild Project, who delivered the samples to a geneticist in Texas for DNA testing.
The results are now back, and Brien Foerster, author of more than ten books and an authority on the ancient elongated headed people of South America, has just revealed the preliminary results of the analysis. He reports on the geneticist's findings:
It had mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) with mutations unknown in any human, primate, or animal known so far. But a few fragments I was able to sequence from this sample indicate that if these mutations will hold we are dealing with a new human-like creature, very distant from Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans.
The implications are of cause huge. “I am not sure it will even fit into the known evolutionary tree,” the geneticist wrote. He added that if the Paracas individuals were so biologically different, they would not have been able to interbreed with humans.
The result of this analysis is only phase one of many phases of analysis due to take place. The results need to be replicated and more analysis undertaken before final conclusions can be drawn. We will update when more details emerge.
Featured Image: An elongated skull found in Paracas
By April Holloway
The Ancascocha Trail, PeruPhotograph by Didrik Johnck
Hiker: Erik Weihenmayer, blind adventurer and mountaineer
In His Words
The Ancascocha Trail in the Peruvian Andes is a spectacular trail that remains off the beaten path even given its close proximity to the classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
I hiked it with a group of 18 teenagers from the U.S.—nine of the students were blind or visually impaired and nine were sighted, with the sighted guiding the blind. Around the middle of the trek we camped for a full day and night at the remote mountain community of Chillipahua, where we partook in a game of soccer with the village kids (our blind participants used a soccer ball with a plastic bag over it in order to hear it roll). We were all out of breath, since the village is at 12,000 feet. We also painted a schoolhouse alongside community members, and the locals celebrated our stay with a traditional meal: sheep and vegetables cooked under hot rocks buried in the ground.
When we all got to the Gateway of the Sun, above the World Heritage site of Machu Picchu, I remember the sighted kids describing the incredible view looking into this ancient city of rock, with much more of the ruins still buried under jungle vegetation. —Erik Weihenmayer
Length: 19-mile hike from Parpishu to Camicancha (plus bus and train ride to Machu Picchu)
The Details: The Inca Trail has fallen off most best-of lists because it is just too crowded, but the ruins of Machu Picchu—which poet Pablo Neruda praised as “madre de piedra, espuma de los cóndores” (“mother of stone, spume of condors”)—and the surrounding passes and peaks of the Andes should remain on any bucket list.
Enter Weihenmayer’s choice: the Ancascocha Trek (often called the Super Inca Trail or even the Hidden Inca Trail), a far more strenuous, yet less traveled and more rewarding path. The trek takes roughly five or six days wandering through traditional villages like Chillipahua and its namesake Ancascocha at 12,795 feet. Along the way, it humps over big passes, including a high point of roughly 16,000 feet on Inca Chiriaska, and takes in views of towering 20,551-foot Salcantay.
Many local guide companies have added the “Hidden” Inca Trail to itineraries, so take advantage of their logistical planning but go before the masses catch on. One note, the trail doesn’t actually end at Machu Picchu; you need to hop a short bus and train ride to get there, but you won’t care much after the experience of solitude in the high Andes.
When to Go: Spring (April-May) and fall (September-October) are best, avoiding the winter storms and minimizing the hordes of tourists that arrive at Machu Picchu in summer.
About Weihenmayer: In 2001, Erik Weihenmayer summited Mount Everest—he is the first and only blind person to stand atop the tallest peak. But that climb was just one of many accomplishments claimed by the Colorado-based adventurer, who lost his sight due to a degenerative disease at age 13. Weihenmayer, who is accompanied by a partner on his adventures, has since climbed the remaining highest peaks on every continent, run marathons, and competed in adventure races and reality TV shows. He is currently training to kayak the Grand Canyon. Weihenmayer also helps other blind, deaf, and hard-of-hearing people achieve outdoor dreams through Leading the Way, an arm of the nonprofit No Barriers USA
Many travelers seem to live by this mantra – however most sunset and sunrise photographs that I see are quite disappointing.
They need not be – sunsets and sunrises are not that difficult to photograph!
Tips for Photographing Stunning Sunrises and Sunsets
Think Ahead - While sometimes wonderful sunrise and sunset shots can be taken spontaneously without any forethought it’s often the case that the best ones come out of planning. Scope out places that might be good for sunsets in the day or two before your shoot. Look for interesting places where you might not only be able to see the sun track all the way down but where there will be opportunities for shots that include foreground elements and silhouettes. Sunsets only take half an hour or so so you want to think about these elements before they start or you might miss the shots you’re after.
Find out when the sun will set or rise and get there at least half an hour before hand as it’s often in the lead up to and the time after the sun appears or disappears that the real magic happens.
Keep an eye on the weather also. There are a variety of different types of sunsets that produce a range of different types of lights and patterns in the sky. Don’t just go for clear days for these shots – while they can produce some wonderful colors it’s usually the times where there is cloud around that the real action happens! Also be aware of days when there is dust or smoke in the air as they can produce amazing results also.
Consider ahead of time what equipment you might need. Include a tripod, lenses that will give you a range of focal lengths, extra batteries etc.
Shoot at a variety of focal lengths – wide angle can create sweeping landscape shots but if you want the sun itself to be a feature of the shot you’ll want to be able to zoom right in.
Keep in mind that the sun is just half a degree across so when you shoot with a wide lens it will only be taking up a reasonably small part of the photo. If you want it to be a feature of your shot you’ll need to zoom in on it using anything from a 200mm lens upwards. This will increase your need for a tripod!
Also be aware that when you look at the sun at the best of times it can be dangerous but when you look through a magnifying lens it can be quite dangerous is the sun is still too high in the sky.
Silhouettes as focal points - As with all photos, sunsets need a point of interest and one of the best ways to add one to a picture is to try to incorporate some sort of Silhouette into the shot. This could be something large like a mountain range, something that is part of the environment like a palm tree or a pier or could even be a person.
The great things about Silhouettes is that they add mood and context to a sunset or sunrise shot. I’ll write more on silhouettes in a future article.
Rule of thirds – Remember the rule of thirds in your photographing of sunrises and sunsets. While you can always break the rule it’s often a good idea to place elements like the horizon, sun, silhouettes etc off centre.
Exposure TechniquesShoot at a variety of exposures - if you let your camera decide what shutter length to shoot at you’re likely to get a shot that doesn’t really capture the beauty of the light. Quite often the shot will be under exposed because the sky is still reasonably light.
Instead of relying upon the camera’s auto mode a sunset is an ideal time to switch your camera into aperture or shutter priority mode and to take a variety of shots at different exposures.
The great thing about sunsets and sunrises is that there is no one ‘right’ exposure and that you can get stunning results using a variety of them. Also keep in mind that different exposures (aperture and shutter speeds) will produce a variety of different results so it’s worth taking more than just a few shots – the key is to experiment.
I tend to switch into shutter priority mode and start with a relatively quick shutter speed and then slowly work down to slower ones.
Bracketing – Another technique to try to get the right exposure is ‘bracketing’ where you look at what the camera suggests you take the picture at and then take a few shots at both under and over that mark. ie if your camera says to shoot at 1/60th of a second at f/8 you would shoot off a shot at 1/60 at f/5.6 and then at f/11. In doing so you end up with a series of shots at different exposures which will all give you slightly different results and colors. Most DSLR’s and some point and shoot digital cameras have a built in bracketing feature so you don’t need to do this manually – learn how to use it!
Auto Exposure Lock - Another exposure trick, if you don’t have a bracketing mode or don’t feel confident in using it is if your camera has ‘auto exposure lock’ which allows you to point your camera at a darker place and lock in exposure for that spot (ie you could point it at the ground in front of you and lock in that exposure) and then reframe the picture looking at the sunset. This will mean you get a more over exposed shot.
Take camera out of Auto White balance mode – when you set your camera to ‘Auto’ in it’s white balance mode you run the risk of losing some of the warm golden tones of a sunrise or sunset. Instead try shooting in ‘cloudy’ or ‘shade’ which are usually used in cooler lights and tell your camera to warm things up a little. Alternatively – if you’re shooting a sunrise and DO want a cooler moody shot you can experiment with other white balance settings.
Other Sunset and Sunrise Tips
Tripod – If you’re shooting at longer shutters speeds and with longer focal lengths then a tripod or some other way of ensuring your camera is completely still is essential.
Manual Focus – sometimes when shooting in extreme lighting conditions some cameras can have trouble focussing. If this is the case for your camera consider switching to manual focus to ensure you get nice crisp shots.
Look around you – The wonderful thing about sunsets is that they not only create wonderful colors in the sky in front of you but they also can cast a beautiful golden light that is wonderful for other types of photography. As the sunset progresses keep an eye on other opportunities for shots around you (not just in front of you). You might find a great opportunity for a portrait, landscape shot, macro shot etc behind you in the colden light.
Keep Shooting – A sunset or sunrise constantly changes over time and can produce great colors well after the sun goes down or appears so keep shooting at different exposures and focal lengths as I’ve mentioned above until you’re sure it’s all over.