Archive for January 3rd, 2009



New Years Sunrise

New Year's Sunrise

Sunrise on January 1, 2009. The Sanibel Lighthouse from the causeway.

Timing is everything, and, while I might have been able to plan this shot, I certainly didn’t. We were on our way out to Sanibel for one last day of sun and birds, crossing the causeway in the early light, discussing where to go first. I was watching the sunrise out of the corner of my eye…well, considering the beauty of it, I was paying way more attention to it than I should have while driving.

“Or,” I said, “we could stop right here and wait for the sunrise.” We pulled in just before the last bridge to the island, drove down the beach as far as we could to get an angle where the lighthouse was as much against the sunrise as possible, and parked. I was getting out of the car just as the sun broke the horizon. Timing is everything.

I angled the camera up to read exposure from the sky while keeping the horizon in the focus zone (so that the camera would autofocus), locked exposure by pressing the shutter release half way, and then reframed for composition. I have taken a lot of sunrises and sunsets with the Sony H series cameras, so I can anticipate what the most balanced exposure looks like in the finder. Then too, I know the limits of the amount of Fill Light I can apply in Lightroom in post-processing to bring out the foreground, so I expose mostly for the sky, to get the intensity of the colors.

I took many exposures, from full wide angle, to full telephoto (catching just the lighthouse against the sky). I played with where the sun sat in the frame, shifting it along the 1/3rd horizon line. For this shot, I zoomed up to about a 60mm equivalent to put the sun at one of the rule of thirds power points, and let the lighthouse slide out toward the edge of the frame. It is such a strong shape that being toward the edge still keep attention on it and keeps the image balanced.

Sony DSC H50. F5.6 @ 1/500th @ ISO 100. Programed Auto with exposure biased for the sky by tipping the camera using exposure lock.

Fill Light in Lightroom to bring up the foreground. Some Recovery for the highlights, added Clarity and Vibrance (which deepened the blue and brought up the orange), and used the Sharpen Landscape preset.

All in all, a fitting salute to the new year!

The image is from the Sanibel and Everglades Gallery.