I hadn’t been out on a photo expedition in a while, so last weekend I decided it would be good to go out for some morning shooting. We had had some warm temps with freezing rain, and the weatherman said the following morning would be dry but foggy. Fog in the morning can lead to some interesting photos, so I decided to head out for a sunrise photo shoot on Sunday morning.
Well, I woke up about 15 minutes before my 6:30am alarm. I got up and looked out the window to see what the conditions were. To my surprise the eastern sky was not only showing a clear dark blue, but not a hint of fog was to be seen. So even though a foggy sunrise was not going to happen, there was certainly the possibility of a colorful sunrise… So I got dressed and headed out.
My first challenge was to find a location that would make the best of a sunrise image. I was looking for a location that looked east to view the rising sun, but would also include some water or ice to reflect the colors of the eastern sky. The two locations that I had scoped out the night before on Google Earth didn’t quite pan out, so I kept driving and looking for the perfect location, all the while fighting the clock.
I ended up at a location in Lisbon along a bend in the Androscoggin River that looked directly at the rising sun, with only a few minutes to spare before the the crucial moment. I set up my tripod and camera and waited a short while before the sun started to rise above the trees on the horizon. The recent rain had turned the snow that was on the river’s surface into a nice reflective surface, so I was ready for whatever was to occur.
As it turned out, the sunrise was less than spectacular, and without the ice to reflect the sky’s color the photo wouldn’t have been worth taking. But by being at the right place at the right time I was able to come away with some better-than-average images.
After shooting the actual sunrise I turned my attention to some scenes in the opposite direction. Embedded in the ice along the river’s edge were a myriad of dead leaves. These lent themselves to some close-up photos. So I changed my wide angle lens for my 100mm macro lens and focused on the leaves. The low angle of the rising sun created some nice highlights and shadows that a mid-day sun would not have allowed for. Then, after the close-ups, I noticed how the leaves in the ice created a line leading into the distance that was custom-made for a wide angle long depth of field image. I changed back to my wide angle lens and looked for the the best composition that would focus on an up-close leaf leading to a long-distance landscape image. The foreground leaves created a main focus point, while the string of leaves would lead the viewer into the photo… the perfect use for a wide-angle lens in the landscape.
So even thought I wasn’t able to capture what I originally set out to, I was able to get several different type of images from one location by using the the unique light of a sunrise. These images, and others, were all taken within an area of about 20′ x 30′, and all in a span of about 30 minutes. It’s all about working the scene.