I am sure that everyone has had this issue before. Have you ever gone out with the greatest intentions for the perfect photo, perfect portrait, perfect sunset. That was me tonight. I drove about 15 min out of town to get to a location that I mapped out on Google Maps. I got there, the landscape was not quite what I expected, so I decided to make the best of it. Set my tripod, my external flash and remote trigger, attached my phone to the camera for remote shooting, stepped in front of the camera to take the picture and started firing away. When the shoot was over, I packed everything up drove home, and immediately downloaded the photos to check out my great work (in my mind).
If you haven't guessed by now, the shoot was a huge disappointment. I had set my camera up for the scene just before the sun set, then I just continued to shoot after the sun had gone below the horizon. I thought everything was okay, the results looked good in my phone and camera display, but far from good when I got home.
A couple things went wrong that might help you all in the future.
1. Constantly check your histogram and exposure
2. Don't trust the viewfinder, most likely it is going to show brighter than the photo really is, especially when shooting at or near nighttime.
3. Shoot in raw, I could kick myself for not doing it this time. I normally shoot in raw, but I was doing some stuff earlier this week where I changed to JPG. I was shooting work related photos. I didn't check and didn't switch back to raw. It really cuts down on any ability to recover even a single photo from an underexposed shoot.