Saturday, January 1, 2011
First Sunrise of the Decade
Happy New Year!
This year I am dedicating this blog to helping others by sharing my knowledge. I will use this blog to share my knowledge of photography and share as much information as possible. To start, I thought it would be great to begin the year by talking about light, and everything I know about light I've learned from the sun.
Today was not only the first day of the year, but the first day of this new decade. To remember this special day my girl and I planned to photograph the first sunrise of the decade in a special place. We spent New Years Eve by Joshua Tree National Park and with only a few hours sleep drove to get to our planned location for sunrise in the park. We checked the time for sunrise, the weather, packed our gear and estimated the time to get to the location. When planning sunrise shots it's always best to give yourself extra time because you don't get a second chance.
To make these images I used a Sony A900 DSLR camera with a 20mm lens. The body is on a tripod and the ISO is set to 200, which gives the best files from this camera. When shooting sunrise images you can't depend on the cameras meter, because meter's don't think, they only react. If you are just starting out shooting sunrise and sunset will teach you a lot about light and how your camera works. In the auto mode your camera is reading the sunlight and everything else will go dark. This is great at times but for more dramatic images you'll want detail in the shadow area's as well.
All these images were shot in the manuel mode. I determined first what my normal reading was and then decided when to use that reading at normal or when to open up from the reading. Before the sun was up I shot my images 1/3 open from the camera meter reading. When the sun started to peak out and I wanted just the silhouette of the rock formations and the sun I underexposed the images by a full stop, so if the reading is telling me, F 8 @ 1/250, I will shot F11 @ 1/250. Doing this gave me more dramatic images.
When I wanted to show more detail in the shadow area, with my girlfriend looking towards the sunrise, I shot my images 1/3 to 2/3's of a stop under the actual reading. For example if the reading is F8 @ 1/250, I would shoot at F9 or F10 @ 250. Note that all of the images are shot different from what the camera reading is telling me and I have to make these decision in a fraction of a second because the sunrise happens in seconds during this time of the year.
Tomorrow we will discuss more aspects of lighting from this shoot!
Always Dream Big!