The sky was very dark and covered with clouds. The landscape was very dark and covered with shadows. Then for a few seconds the sun popped out in a small gap in the clouds. The landscape opened up its arms for me to enjoy. The three hour drive starting at 3:00 AM to catch the sunrise was worth it!
It was a dark and dreary morning at the Anacortes ferry dock. The sun broke through the clouds to display its golden rays behind Mt. Baker. Even though it was raining at the dock, I felt that it was going to be a beautiful day. By the time we reached Friday Harbor, the clouds had burned off and the sky was bright blue. It was a beautiful day. Each day is a gift!!!
Some time when it is cold and dreary, I enjoy looking back through my past images to a more enjoyable time. We had some wonderful early summer weather on our whale-watching trip last summer. This image was taken on the SE end of San Juan Island in Puget Sound. How we miss the beautiful Northwest!
Looking down the beach, I saw this interesting shadow pattern on these sand ripples as the sun broke the horizon. This highlight-shadow pattern just lasted a few moments. There is always something of interest if I am open to what the moment brings. I just need to be patient and wait for that moment. It was a nice morning.
I worked on this image to convert it to B&W. I was a nice pattern of white and black contrasts. But, the warm sun made the image for me.
The sunrise was not spectacular, but there was a nice warm glow that brightened the sky and ocean. As I was absorbing the warmth of the early morning sun in South Carolina, I was thinking of the cold and snow that we were currently experiencing in Philadelphia. I was glad to be at Hilton Head Island. There were just a few of dawn walkers and bikers. I waited several moments as this biker and her dog first rode up the beach (I missed her the first time) then turned around and came back down. It added a little interest to what would have been a very nondescript photo.
In the depth of winter, my mind wanders to warmer times. Last summer we joined a couple of friends on San Juan Island in Puget Sound to photograph Orca’s. One morning we woke early to catch a sunrise. The sunrise on the horizon was not very interesting. But looking behind me, I saw the gorgeous warm sunlight on the western shore of the point where were standing. Lesson learned from John Barclay, “When photographing a sunset or sunrise, make sure to look behind you!”
First light across the dunes was a dramatic sight. The dune directly in front of me caught the brilliant first light of day, while the dune behind was still in shadow. This moment lasted only a few seconds. If you look hard at the background dune, you can see traces of sunlight on the tops of the ripples. A moment later everything was in bright sunlight. I was lucky to be set up and just waiting for the sun to break.
I experimented with this image to create a B&W version. I felt that the bright area was just too much in the B&W version. I like the warm tan sand contrasted against the grey background shadow in color version. Below is the B&W version. Choose for yourself.
On one of our workshop “sleep-in days”, a few of us went out to capture the early morning sunrise at Mesquite Dunes with Chuck Kimmerle. Chuck got us set up to catch the first light then took off on his own to explore. You can see Chuck in the upper left of this image.
When working with the “Pros”, I like to just watch and see what catches their eye as they explore an area. So I took this opportunity to follow Chuck’s foot steps across the sand and see where he stopped and milled around or set up his tripod. It was a good learning experience. At some of his stops, I saw nothing that caught my eye. At other stops, I looked around and saw a WOW image that I would have easily overlooked. Also, I stopped at many places where he did not stop to capture what I thought was a great image. It was a great learning exercise and a lot of fun too!
This is one of my few photos where I captured an overall image of the surrounding area. For most of my images, I tried to capture the details of the light and shadows as they passed over the dunes. To do this I added a 1.4X extender to my 70-200mm lens and used my Canon 7D cropped sensor camera. Because we were in a harsh environment in the sand, I did not dare change lenses. Next time I will make the hike with a normal lens to capture the overall beauty of the dunes against the purple mountains.
Just a few moments after I took the image on my previous post the sun popped over the ridge and lit up Zabriskie Point. The point seemed like it was on fire. The subtle tonalities were severely washed out. I had to add a lot of structure in NIK Viveza and tonal contrast in NIK ColorEfex Pro to bring out the contrasts.
Sunrise had just broken on the mountains on the far side of Death Valley. Zabriskie Point was still in the shadows, but there was enough light to bring out the tonal differences in the ridges and valleys leading down from the point.