new year’s dawn–A whiny start to photographing 2015.

I’m new to photographing sunrises and sunsets.  Well, I’m new to really trying to take a great sunrise/sunset (anyone else humming that tune now?) picture anyway.  So far, I’ve labeled my first two attempts as “crappy sunset”  and “crappy sunrise.”  The first step is to find good locations, which I have bombed out on both times.  This morning I overslept, (not because I was out partying last night, but because I couldn’t sleep as usual and then I found the series “Parenthood” on Netflix and watched it until 6 this morning.  SOO GOOD!!) so I basically drove until the sun started coming up and that’s where I took this shot. I drove around a bit after the light paled and tried to look for a better spot for tomorrow. We shall see how it goes.  Hopefully I won’t have a “crappy sunrise2” label to type for January 2.

I metered on the field for this one, because I wanted some foreground since I wasn’t close enough to silhouette the trees well.  I’ve read about ND filters, and bracketing, or HDR, or combining shots in Photoshop.   The rebel in me wants to be able to take a great sunrise/sunset photo without all those geegaws and doodads, and processing steps.  (or maybe I’m just being lazy)  I’d appreciate advice from any of you sunrise/sunset gurus out there.  Even if it is to bracket, or get fancy shmancy filters. 🙂  Also, I used my usually awesome 70-200 mm lens, which has been great for my daughters’ softball games,  but that thing doesn’t like morning light.  It struggles to focus.  I’m getting so blind, it’s hard for me to manually focus in morning light, so I guess I should have pity on my old friend.  But I’m too crabby to right now.  (Mostly just photographically crabby.  Towards people who cross my path, I’ve been in a fairly jovial mood today so far.  Of course it’s only 11:00 am.  And I’ve only seen the two Starbucks baristas, and my husband, all of whom are easy to be nice to.)

Anyway, enough whining. Time for the big reveal.  But first, a toast:  Raise your cameras with me, fellow blogtographers?….phoblographers? Here’s to learning. Even if it leaves me feeling inept,  I’d rather feel inept from trying and failing, than the dull, lifeless feelings that come from physically and mentally “sleeping in”  through another year.


Again, I’d love advice/feedback from ya’ll.

New Year's Dawn


23 thoughts on “new year’s dawn–A whiny start to photographing 2015.

  1. As a totally uneducated photographer, I think it’s beautiful! Happy New Year to the best daughter a mom and dad could ask for!!!

  2. I should post pictures I have taken EVERY DAY so you will know that in your ineptitude you are still a great photographer……and you know of which I speak. Love this!

  3. Don’t be too hard on yourself Lisa, dawn and dusk shots are tricky.
    Whether you realize it or not, I think you have a great eye for composition. Be patient and methodical and you’ll get there on the technical aspects.
    There are some great elements in this shot. I like the tire tracks that lead the eye towards the cluster of trees and the source of light behind them. It’s really not a bad image, though the one you posted the other day was better in a technical sense. But that may be because the sun was higher so you had more light to work with when you took that one.
    The main flaws here are the hot spots (blown out highlights in the sky) at the top, and the focus issue that you already mentioned.
    My number one rule for low light conditions is to use a tripod. Low light = longer exposure time. You can’t get tack sharp focus going handheld with slower shutter speeds. If you didn’t use a tripod here, that might help with the focus issue.
    Number two is that I generally prefer to go with a wider lens. Not too wide unless you’re going for an ultrawide effect, maybe in the 35 – 50mm range.
    I would also try exposing for the sky not the foreground because it’s easier to bring out underexposed features with post production software than to bring back blown out highlights.
    Like you, I’m a bit of a purist who feels if you can’t catch the image in the camera, then it’s kinda like cheating, but I’m slowly coming around on post production as long as it’s not overdone.
    My goal for 2015 is to experiment with bracketing and HDR. Maybe we can discuss it again in 6 months or so?
    In the meantime be patient with yourself and most of all have fun experimenting. Just remember to take note of the things that work.
    I wish you lots of great images in 2015 🙂

  4. I think you did a a great job. Although tricky as others have commented, sometimes you just get lucky or you captured a perfect sunrise/sunset without really trying. The good thing is there are two tries per day!!

  5. Well, I have zero photography skills, but I know when I see a photograph I like. This is one…the tracks, the colors, the barren field-I am already thinking up a story in my mind. I really look forward to following your progress, Lisa.

  6. I love it . . . especially the snow tire tracks in the foreground!! It makes me homesick for Nebraska! Sunrise/sunset photos are definitely not my forté . . . if I get a good one, I call it “lucky sunrise/sunset”. Best way to get better shots is to keep shooting . . . at least that’s what I keep telling myself. Cheers & Happy New Year!

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