Saturday, September 8, 2007

Getting up in time for good light

It's often said that 50% of landscape photography is being able to get up in time to catch the light around sunset. I saw a dramatic example of this recently in Bryce Canyon where I was camping with my family and got up at 5 am to shoot a few images. The rest stayed in their sleeping bags for good reason. It is cold early in the morning in Bryce even in summer. I shot 100's of images and put only a very small subset on flickr. Here is an example from right before sunrise (bigger in the flickr link):

You see an amazing amount of color in the rocks including purples and magentas. Here is almost the same view shot just a few minutes later when the sun hit it:

First light 2

Still pretty, but all the purples and magentas are missing and completely overwhelmed by the color of the sunlight! Here is an example where you can see it inside of one single image:
Dawn colors at Bryce Canyon

I just love the next image of the tree where all the roots are exposed because of the soil eroding away, a dramatic illustration of how this place is formed:
Spider tree at dawn

There were a few people that got up in time to watch the sunsets, a lot of them flashing their cameras into the sun (don't you love automatic mode on P&S's). There was also a funny photographer couple that was just complaining about the tourists and other people photographing (what do you expect in Bryce canyon?) and appeared to miss all the good shots because of it. I might be wrong though as of course, I did not see their photos. To me it just illustrates that you need to focus on your own photography and have fun doing it.

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