“Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.”

This is probably one of the most common, accurate and oldest adages. It was Aristotle’s pupil, Theophrastus of Eresus, who coined the actual phrase. But the first record of the aphorism is in the Bible (Matthew 16:2-3). Christ said “When it is evening ye say, it will be fair weather for the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today for the sky is red and lowering.” Shakespeare also wrote “A red morn that ever yet betokened, wreck to the seaman, tempest to the field...”

What it all means, basically, is that dry dust particles are in the atmosphere and can easily be seen during sunset and sunrise. Most storms move from west to east. So, with the sun setting in the west, the red sky at night usually indicates dry weather due to that dust particles are being pushed towards you. With the sun rising in the east, the red sky in the morning indicates that the dust particles are being pushed away by an approaching low pressure.

More importantly, you’ll want to know how to capture the perfect sunset on film when the light show begins.

photoKevin Callan

Here are a few tips:

  • Use a tripod. This not only guarantees a sharper photo during low-light conditions, but also helps you focus on particular images you want to shoot.
  • Turn off the flash.
  • Don’t try to take a photo of the entire sky; focus or even zoom in on a section of sky that most interests you.
  • Include an object in the foreground to create a three-dimensional image and bring more interest to the shot.
  • Set the camera on manual focus. If you don’t, the camera will have the background crisp but the foreground blurred.
  • Set the camera on manual exposure, then place the sun near but not in the shot and take a meter reading. Now, using that setting, take some photos. This process will keep your photos from being too dark.
  • Don’t put your camera away right away. Some of the best sunset shots are taken after the sun has just sunk below the horizon.

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