Crisp Autumn Sunrise from the Blue Ridge Parkway

I woke up very early to get up to the top well within time. I actually arrived 50 minutes ahead of the sun rising. It was 28 degrees where I was so I went back and forth from the tripod/camera to my car. I would bring my camera with me to keep the batteries warm. I went through 2 batteries as they do not keep their charge when it is cold. The trick is to take them out of the camera and hold them in your hand to warm them up (providing your hands are warm). Once placed back into the camera after it registered dead, I had a half charge left. Just a quick tip!

I was shooting long exposure in bulb mode of up to 2 minutes long. It is amazing what the camera can pick up with this long exposure as my eyes could see nothing on some series.

For this particular shot, the sun was rising so their was a fair amount of light being produced, enough so that my exposure was not that long at all. I noticed off to my left, that the clouds were racing toward the sun. I knew that if I waited until the clouds reached the sun area, and because I was using my 16 – 35 lens, it would produce long stretched out clouds, exaggerating the already gorgeous layout that was being produced. And they were fast moving so if you drag your shutter, you get motion in your clouds. Another trick is to use a neutral density filter to slow it down even more. But when you do this each frame will have severely varied cloud movement, this will require you to hand-blend (layer mask in PS) one frame of the sky in.

I ended up making 3 exposures for this image. Then once my RAW adjustments were made in LR5, I moved them into PScc as layers. I then hand-blended using layer masks to pull in the dynamic range from each respective frame. I like to blend images in this way as you don’t stack noise like you do in Photomatix and you end up with a more realistic image, in my opinion. I use photomatix, and when used properly, it can be a great tool, but I don’t like to finish the image in it, only to establish a starting point, a base, then stylize from there in other products.

But this image worked better to hand-blend in PS. You have more control with layer masks and once you get that hang of it you can do it quite fast.
Thanks – Deb

Crisp Autumn Sunrise

Share Button

Leave a Reply