Hey Geoff !!
I respond your question here, it might help (maybe) other people...
The question :
Basically, my simple question is - when you take photos at sunset/sunrise, how do you get full light into the foreground whilst still maintaining the colours in the sky? I can only seem to get one or the other properly.
Basically, what happens is one of two things:
1. I either get a perfect pic of the sky/colours but the foreground is mostly black / too dark.
2. Or, I focus on the foreground, or slow down the shutter speed to get a nice clear photo of the foreground, but then the sky turns out too bright and it loses all the colours.
I see so many photos of a bright, clear foreground as well as a deeply colourful sky. How do you get the balance of both?
Well... I will try to help you the best I can with my broken English
This kind of situation appears regulary when you take a picture where the scene present at the same time very bright light and low light in a huge contrast difference. A high light (i.e. the sunset) and a very low light (i.e. the forground). The sensor of your camera is confused by this high light difference.
Most of the landscape photographer use a special technique called "Digital blending" or HDR (for High Dynamic Range).
Hiere is a site which explain it in a better english than mine :
The main principle is simple : take 3 different pictures on different exposure time or aperture (one normal, one underexposed and one overexposed), then, make them blending in order to get back the details in your foreground.
You need :
1/ a tripod (essential)
2/ photoshop and a minimum knowledge of the program
3/ a camera with the Bracketing option (if you don't have this option you have to take 3 different exposure pictures manually)
This technique is used in most of the big landscape pictures, even the super shot like National Geographic etc... If you want, you can also take more than 3 exposures (7,8 etc) and mixed them, the result will be even more spectacular.
Hope it helps my friend