Sunsets and Night Skies in Rocky Mountain National Park

Need some essential advice to get fantastic shots in the evening and into the wee hours? Tamron photographer, Ken Hubbard, shares his tips.

Sunset Photography

While shooting in Rocky Mountain National Park, always bring a tripod and polarizing filters. A tripod will be your best friend to get perfectly sharp landscape images, and the circular polarizer will help you enhance the contrast and color of your sky with nice puffy clouds. As the light gets low, your shutter speeds will slow down and make it more difficult to hand-hold your images. A good tripod will allow you to capture sharp images at the slowest of shutter speeds.

Bear Lake Sunset at Rocky Mountain National Park
Sunset on Aug. 9, 2018 at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National ParkKen Hubbard

Shot Info: Canon 5D Mark IV with Tamron SP15-30mm Di VC USD G2 Lens at ½ Sec., f/22, ISO 100 @ 15mm

Night Skies Photography

When shooting a night skies image, bring the proper equipment. You will need a fast aperture, wide-angle lens to capture as much of the night sky as you can, a tripod because your exposures will be seconds long and a shutter-release cable or a remote to fire your shutter without touching your camera.

Shoot in manual mode. Because of the lack of light, your camera will not be able to capture the night sky properly in auto, program, shutter priority or aperture priority. You will need to take control of your camera and set the ISO, shutter and aperture.

A good starting point in manual mode is to set your camera to the widest angle you have on your lens, the widest aperture you have (f/2.8, f/3.5), ISO 3200 and shutter speed of 25 seconds.

This may not give you the perfect exposure, but it should get you close, so you can adjust your exposure accordingly.

Milky Way over Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
Milky Way over Sprague LakeKen Hubbard

Learn about our National Park Photo Workshops with Tamron professional photographers.