Another new addition to the portfolio. This photo was taken early on in January of this year. This is another image from a personal favorite local location of mine… Lake Johnson Park. Yes, a city park. No airplanes, trains, or massive road trips required. Simply an early alarm and a short drive down the road. It was even taken within 100 yards of the parking area.
Research: The research behind this one was absolutely critical. I’ve known of the park for well over 10 years, and had visited this general location no less than 30 times in search of epic sunrises. Due to a less than pleasing success ratio (0 for 30) the decision was made to research weather forecasting. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of good images made on those other trips. But, simply not the one that continued to allude me. Researching weather forecasting paid off as this was captured on the first attempt after doing the homework. Additionally, research was done on the latest piece of gear beforehand to determine the actual amount of stops that it would provide (hint hint… a lot).
Fieldwork: Not much of anything for this one.
Experience: The sky was mostly overcast, and the light was coming from behind the trees. The composition was set so the edge of the lake was lower in the frame and the sky was emphasized. That meant the focus was going to be on the brilliant sunrise colors and some of the reflection. Knowing my reciprocals paid off on being to calculate the length of exposure on the fly. The use of a dark ND filter was new territory, but some flashbacks of lessons-learned paid off as I remembered to take 1/2 stop off the calculated exposure time when dealing with sunrises. This was simply due to the fact that the scene was getting brighter as the sun continued to rise (203 seconds final exposure if anyone cares).
Gear: Tripod (Manfrotto 055XPROB), ballhead (Vanguard SBH-100), cable release ($15 amazon off brand), bubble level ($3 amazon purchase), telephoto lens (Canon 24-105 f/4L), camera (Canon 6D). There is one big break from the norm. This was captured using a Lee Big Stopper that was a Christmas gift. Even I am willing to admit that gear mattered in this case.
Knowing your gear: 10x Live view was used to obtain critical focus. F/16 was chosen for sharpness and to extend the exposure. ISO 100 was used to capture the cleanest image possible. The wind was light, but the long exposure mainly smoothed out the water. The bubble level insured a level photo. Live view acted as a mirror lockup and allowed for reviewing the composition (originally set in viewfinder). Focus was set on the dock and building. The cable release triggered the shutter. Bracketing wasn’t done due to length of exposure.
Luck: Well positioned clouds and a low sun provided great lighting. The wind was light and didn’t push the boats around too much.
Post-Production: Processed using Lightroom 5. The spot removal tool from LR4 would have been sufficient since content aware wasn’t utilized). No presets or plug-ins were used. Just an effort to keep it looking natural since what came out of the camera was “clean.” Again, the post production took a good image and helped make it pop. Not more than 10 minutes was spent in post.