Monday, June 26, 2006

Grass, Barn, Mountains, Sun, etc.

Another photo from my most recent dawn outing. I was doing my best to find various compositions while staying in the same location. I didn't want to move because I was afraid I would miss that glorious moment when the sun finally makes its appearance, rising majestically over the mountains.

I'd be curious to hear your strategies for sunrise photography. Do most people stay within several yards of one location, or do they tend to take a few shots and move on? During my two dawn excursions, I have felt pinned down with fear and trepidation, knowing that there is only a finite amount of time in which the lighting is so magnificent. I don't want to waste all that great lighting and fantastic sky by driving or walking to another location, only to find that it isn't as good as my first position.

Given these fears, I did stay in one location for the majority of my time in Ladner. Attempting to find variety in my compositions, I tried ducking down into the grass. Without coffee, I didn't have my wits about me enough to try a variety of shutter speeds and focus options. Next time I try this, I will putting everything out of focus and use a long shutter speed and see what kind of effect I get.

In the meantime, this was the best composition I got while in the grass. I have the same photo without the grass, but I was curious to gauge your opinion on this one. Be sure to view the larger version, as the small picture seems a bit too dark.

Canon PowerShot S2 IS, 13mm, f/4.5, 1/125 sec, ISO 50


Blogger micki said...

This is lovely. It was a beautiful morning! I would have liked see the grass in focus, though, for this shot. It is an awesome composition.

I don't move around a whole lot, depends on how close to sunrise it is. Once I'm getting within 15-10 minutes, it's time to get serious. I've made the mistake of moving before...won't do that again. When's your next outing?

1:26 PM, June 26, 2006  
Anonymous Emr√© said...

Beautiful skyscape. Yes, I would take the grass off the way and perhaps turn the camera horizontal to get rid of blue sky up and some black down. Scene is captivating. How would you tell it's a morning unless told?

4:26 PM, June 26, 2006  
Anonymous Paul said...

Nice photo. First, I would say get there early, about 45 minutes BEFORE sunrise, even an 70-90 minutes before. This gives you time to relax and notice things. This time is called Civil Twilight, and by definition, you can walk around without the need for a flashlight.

By all means, move around. Try different angles, up, down, left, right, near, far. Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! The light, during that time of day, changes so quickly. I believe that from Civil Twilight to sunrise there is a change of about 4 - 6 f-stops!

I urge you to listen to this podcast: The name is Twilight.

It is great!

Creativity = Productivity. See if you can get in a 100+ shots before the sun comes up. By staying in one place, you will probably miss a lot of other opportunties. Besides, you can visit the same place over and over and over again and never see the same light! That's what is great about this hobby!

Also, after the sun comes up, turn around! See what's behind you. I think that you'll be surprised. Get creative. Try some "crazy" things. Just shoot!

4:51 PM, June 26, 2006  
Blogger Laurie said...

Since I have only done one sunrise in the last 25 years and it was at Sandy Hook on the beach there was not much reason for me to move around much. Sandy Hook beach is fairly large so to move to shoot from the dunes toward the sunrise would have been difficult. But Shortly after the sun came up I did shoot from the dunes and it was an awesome light.

Soon I will be going again, possibly to the mountains, to shoot another sunrise, but don't tell my husband he doesn't know yet. It's a surprise that I am sure he will really enjoy. Muahahaha...Teeheehee

This shot is lovely. I think micki is right, the grass needs to be in focus for this to be effective. But you said you took the shot without the grass too so that's good.

7:26 PM, June 26, 2006  
Blogger Dave MacIntyre said...

1st of all, CAREFUL with the Toronto Maple Leafs comments! ;o)

Great shot Tim...I honestly have never intentionally set out for a sunrise shot...the few I have taken, I happened to travelling up on my way into the interior lakes or so on, but I don't set my alarm for one...sleep is too damn precious!

8:29 PM, June 26, 2006  
Blogger Don said...

The larger version is extra nice. The blur seems to work better in the larger image.

Sunrise shooting: We tried driving to a new position this spring at the Grand Canyon and experienced exactly what you fear: we finally arrived at a place distinctly inferior to the one we just left...The view was off...and the sun was roaring into the sky. I would recommend going to one place and sticking it other sites another day, if that is possible.

9:52 PM, June 26, 2006  
Anonymous Jarrett said...

This came out pretty well. I think I agree withyou about not moving around too much. At that time (as well as sunset) the sun just moves too fast for you tto try to get to dramatically different locations. I think the best thing is to pre-scout your location, or go back to one you have previously shot at sunrise, and work on all the other elements of your composition and just visualize where the sun is going to show up when it's there. Then go back, set up the shot again, and wait for the perfect few moments.

Also, it's key to make sure you meter it corretly. Sunrise/Sunset are two times where conditions will very offten fool your camera's "evaluative" or "matrix" meter system. To truly nail them, I have lerned that you need to use the spot meter. I've practiced a few of these shots recently, and what seemed towork best was to use the camera's spot meter, and then meter the brightest thing in the composition that you stillwant to see detail on (hint: it isn't the sun itself, which is always going to overexpose in your shot but that's ok because it'll still look natural).

I look forward to your upcoming shots of this type.

11:18 PM, June 26, 2006  
Blogger Sudhi said...

Great shot!! Although I felt, the not in focus grass and the grey sky distracted my eyes. I would have set the camera horizontal, moved in closer to the barn, slightly overexposed the sky to get a good silhoutte in the foreground.
I have not done too many sunrises(late sleeper :) )but during sunsets I do tend to move around a bit until i get a good object for the silhoutte.

Keep Rocking!!

12:12 AM, June 27, 2006  
Anonymous Suby said...

I love the hanging leaf in this shot. Well placed. Lovely lovely capture as usual.

2:13 AM, June 27, 2006  
Anonymous Veloran said...

Lovely shot Timmy, the sunrise is gorgeous... The grass stalk is a nice idea, but as it is now, it looks like more of a distraction than something intentional. I guess the solution would be to have that in focus, perhaps even at the expense of having the background in focus...

2:33 AM, June 27, 2006  
Anonymous Shuva said...

Lovely and nice with the foreground grass. It would have been better if it was not blurred, but still a good post.

3:27 AM, June 27, 2006  
Anonymous faustina said...

I love the grass, I'm not sure if in focus would be better but would be interesting to see the difference.

I am surrounded by barns where ever I go, I need to photograph some more.

love the shot.

3:29 AM, June 27, 2006  
Anonymous GeeTee said...

Great advice from Paul.

I think you are right to stay in that one spot until you see at least the tip of the sun. After that you have an hour of great golden light in which you can move around and look for some other opportunities.

THe orange in this one is very beautiful.

5:20 AM, June 27, 2006  
Anonymous My Camera Eye said...

This shunset shot is awesome. When it comes to sunsets and sunrise shots which are a dime a dozen, I move around a bit to get some unique views. If you take the same shot as everyone else does it will never stand out such as yours does.

Here are a few of mine.

5:44 AM, June 27, 2006  
Blogger Stardog Champion said...

Beautiful shot. I think the stalk of grass actually works quite well here. It's also quite interesting to read all the different ideas on getting sunrise shots. Makes for great reading.

Anyway, nice work!

6:52 AM, June 27, 2006  
Blogger Nicola said...

Simply beautiful!

4:10 AM, June 28, 2006  
Anonymous ana said...

I agree with Micki on this one. If you're going to put something in the foreground, it is better to focus on that, and let the background be out of focus. personal perference?

4:39 AM, June 28, 2006  
Blogger Paul said...

One last comment. When I said move, I meant around the area that you are in. All within short walking distance. Climb a tree, shoot around a bush, from behind a flower, etc. Don't just stand in that one place. Of course, don't get in your car and drive somewhere. You'd seriously be wasting precious time. Just don't get locked into a few square feet/meters of dirt.

6:33 PM, June 29, 2006  
Anonymous Martin said...

Great photo. I love photos having a blurred object close to the camera in the foreground. Really creates a sense of depth / distance in the photo. The colours are very vibrant also here. Good one.

1:04 AM, July 07, 2006  

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