Thursday, August 15, 2013

Watching the World Wake Up...Sunrise Photography

Sunrise Sun-Puddles by Sheen's Nature Photography
Nikon D600,  24-85mm,  f/16 ISO 50 1/40sec
It's 5:30 a.m.  Your corner of the world is still chasing dreams.  Except for you.

The coffee is brewing while you're filling your cameras with fully charged batteries. You need to be out of the door and at your destination by 6:15 since sunrise is at 6:33.  Hurry up.

Hurry up only to watch, breath and wait.

Wait for the world to wake up.  Digital Photography Schools' 15 Minute Exercise to Improve Your Photography can be easily applied during the waiting for the sunrise window.  Our best, most creative images happen as a result of watching for the moments versus planning perfect shot.

Velvety hues of color drift in just before the sun rises. Midnight blue skies are mirrored on sapphire blue waters.  Colors of gold dance across the lake.  Cormorants fly across rosy blue waters.   Great Blue Herons stroll along the pier taking in morning's glow.

Synchronized Morning Wing Plan by Sheen's Nature Photography
Nikon 7100, 70-300mm, f/5.6, ISO 250 1/1250sec

Your time and timing is crucial.  A few minutes of missed sunrise considerably changes color and composition.  Wunderground accurately tracks sunrises on your laptop or smartphone so you can set your schedule the evening before.

What you see and feel in the moment of capturing the photo is not always translated to the image.  Sunrises can look flat or simply like a yellow spot on a dark background. Boring!  Having a foreground focal point along with trying different exposures can quickly change sunrise images from "nice" to "Wow".

Great Blue Heron:  Watching the World Wake Up, Sheen's Nature Photography
Nikon 600, 24-85mm, f/9, ISO 250 1/100sec
Whether we're just beginning in photography or have a lot of experience, having your own mental tip checklist can make the difference from a nice picture to an image that draws the viewer in to the moment.

There are many articles and tips from talented photographers to help guide all levels.  A few standard must-haves include a good tripod, shoot in RAW and manual mode, use Lightroom or other high quality image processing software.

A reference page that's a quick read, filled with lovely images and their settings, tools of the trade and lenses used is Nikon's Shooting Spectacular Sunrises and Sunsets.

The sun has risen, many images have been captured and the beach chair beckons for a partner.  Time to rest as the sunset is just hours away.  Happy Shooting!

After the Sunrise by Sheen's Nature Photography
Nikon 600, 24 - 85mm, f/22, ISO 80 1/10sec