Morning Light – Week 4

This week there were two, well barely two, mornings that had a potential for decent light. Both started out similarly with cloudy grey skies that parted just enough to let the sun through during sunrise. I find that these types of skies have a high risk to reward ratio. Often I come home cold and tired without a decent image to show for my troubles.

But when conditions are right and the sun finds that proverbial hole in the clouds, magic can happen. And it often happens quick.

Here’s a short time lapse of the sky on Thursday morning right before sunrise while I was shooting the farmland along Port Stanley Rd.

And here’s the shot during sunrise looking a bit further south.

This shows just how quickly condition can change.

Friday’s forecast looked like it would be similar to Thursday’s so I planned on revisiting Spencer Spit. It had been a while since I’d been but it is quite a beautiful sunrise location so I was hopeful that the weather would cooperate. I confess that since I felt good about the images that I capture the day before on  Port Stanley road, I was ready to call this one off at a moments notice.

This is what the condition looked like after I hiked in.

And I’ll be completely honest, I almost bailed a dozen times. There was a nasty cold southeast wind blowing right into my face. Plus I showed up early, like I usually do, so I had about an hour till the sun would show over the hills.

But there kept being a hole in the sky pretty much right where I wanted. And the wind was blowing the clouds right at me and it looked pretty darn cool. So I decided to go long exposure and added my 10 stop nd filter. And this is the sequence of shots I captured as the sun was rising over the hills on the horizon.

Well worth the wait. But I’m not thrilled with my foreground choice. I’m learning a bunch of lessons during these early morning shoots.

  • First, never give up. You just never know what might come your way. There will, of course, be plenty of misses but you just never know till after sunrise or sunset.
  • Second, planning for morning shoots is really, really important. I need to become a much better weather forecaster so my percentage of attempts with good light increases.
  • And third is better advanced scouting. It can be darn hard to set up a compelling composition during the predawn light. I need to think about scouting my morning locations the night before, if possible, so I don’t end up with great light and an ordinary composition.

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