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Old Oct 26, 2010, 7:28 PM   #1
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Default Sunrise over Saddleback Mountain

These photos were taken early one morning last month when the persistent morning gloom of several months duration finally parted, and I faced the first sunrise I had seen in some time. I wished I had gotten up earlier as there was still quite a bit of red when I first stepped out to get the morning papers, but by the time I went and got my camera (actually two with different lenses, but the mountain was too far away for the wide angle) it had rapidly faded. I took a couple of dozen hand held shots with the K7 and Sigma 135-400 (all the while getting odd looks from the early morning dog walkers and joggers as I stood there in the semi-darkness in my bathrobe snapping away with the camera and its big lens), made quite a number of crops, and had a devil of a time deciding which one to post. The main bone of contention was how much sky to include. The first is the one I finally chose (with prodding from my wife) to enter in the last monthly challenge (I liked it too, but it got no votes - which doesn't really matter because there were so many good shots, but I have been wondering if I made the right choice or if it was even worth posting at all) - it is a crop from a shot similar to the second, which shows more sky. Which one do you like better?


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Next are two different crops from one shot, showing slightly different amounts of sky. I only include them because they also show an interesting feature which could be a comet or a satellite launch from Vandenberg AFB similar to one of a few days previous, but which probably only is a contrail. Which of these do you prefer?


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If life brings you lemons, you can make lemonade.

Last edited by penolta; Oct 26, 2010 at 7:54 PM.
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Old Oct 26, 2010, 10:45 PM   #2
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Very nice pictures - I agree with your wife and love the first one. I think I prefer #4, but only barely, there's not a huge amount of difference between the two. Perhaps someone who really knows something about composition will comment, but I just think the 4th one looks a bit better balanced.

I did the same thing with Sunday's sunrise - the colors were outstanding when I went outside and I snapped a quick picture with the 35. But I really wanted something longer but by the time I fetched it all the color was gone.
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Old Oct 27, 2010, 12:23 AM   #3
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I liked the first and third photos.
the colors are more intense, the cropping on the third just right.
On the first photo I may have left a bit of the top of the sky a bit more.
Good, though.
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Old Oct 27, 2010, 1:00 PM   #4
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Good job, Pen.
Beautiful sunrise!

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Old Oct 29, 2010, 12:27 AM   #5
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i like 3 with the bit more sky

i am not sure what program you use
but with no 2 have you tried adding a new transparent layer, then dong a black to transparent gradient from the top down
then set the layer to overlay
it will darken the sky at the top but show the clouds though with a bit more contrast
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Old Oct 29, 2010, 7:28 AM   #6
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Penolta I like #1 best. I find the sky the point of interest in the photo and it shows it best. In the others the sky is less prominent and there is little else in the picture of interest other than the Mountain.

I might try cropping out the two trees on either side of the image to leave only the Mt. and the sunset. I feel the trees do not add anything and take my eyes away from the beautiful sunrise and blue Mt. that is the focal point of the Photo.

Just my 2 cents worth.

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Old Oct 29, 2010, 1:22 PM   #7
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Thanks for the comments Harriet, Lisa, GW, John, and Lou , and I do appreciate the suggestions.

Lou, quickie opportunistic shots with no time for planning often leave much to be desired - I did try cropping out the trees, even though I liked them for framing, but my position prevented getting the whole mountain in an unobstructed view. As you can see from the first two, moving either to the right or left would have cut off too much of the mountain, cropping off one of the trees would have unbalanced the picture, and IMO cropping both would have taken too much of the mountain. Most of the visible yellow sky being off to the left of the mountain also made for difficult composition - I wanted the mountain as a point of interest as I couldn't get enough of a clear view of the sunrise by itself to make a decent picture. A few minutes earlier and I would have had a broad expanse of red above the yellow. I was shooting straight down the street, which is lined with intrusive houses and landscaping, which is why I had to crop off so much of the bottom of the frames, and the houses, power poles and lines at the end of the street would have been more obstructive. Had I time to walk the two blocks to get an unobstructed wider view, the colors would have been gone. As Harriet experienced, these things are ephemeral and can change quickly. The shots were a compromise and I frankly am surprised I could have done as well as I did, being in the middle of a suburban housing tract - I am not situated well for sunsets, so have to do with sunrises while the sun is favorably positioned - as the seasons change, so will sun's path and with it those opportunities.
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Old Oct 29, 2010, 5:05 PM   #8
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Looks like you did very well despite the ephemeral nature of the sunrise! I agree with your wife that #1 is especially nice.

Have tried John's method of "electronic graduated ND filter" on some landscapes, and sometimes it really helps!
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