Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Orange You Glad...

...you got up for sunrise? OK, please forgive my very bad pun. But I was indeed glad that I had awakened at 4AM in order to drive over an hour to this vantage point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and was set up and ready to go long before sunrise.

The sun was coming up over the horizon to my right, out of camera range for this shot. I had taken other views as well, but this one showcases the receding ridges and the mist or "smoke" in the valleys. It is that smoky look that gave the Smokies its name.

This is a calm image. No blazing ball of light, no clouds, just a quiet sunrise in a quiet place. Very special.

This image works primarily because of the strong color, the deep shadows, and the many ridge lines disappearing into the distance. Simple elements, simple colors. It creates a mood, a sense of quiet calm. Which is exactly how this morning was.

Many photographers think they need to use a wide angle lens for this type of shot. But I find that a moderate telephoto lens actually does a better job of capturing what I see and feel. It is a personal choice, but it is based on years of experience. Because a wide angle lens actually expands the apparent distance between you and the far horizon, it causes the distant mountains to look smaller, lower, and farther away. A moderate telephoto lens, on the other hand, tends to compress the distance between you and the distant ridges, making them appear larger and closer. And that is the look I wanted here.

All photographic decisions are a combination of science and art. What do you want to show, and how can you show it? Practice helps you to create the look you are seeking, as well as trying a variety of options at each shooting location. Try some shots with a wide angle lens and others with a telephoto lens, and then decide which look you prefer.  

Shutter Speed 1/25 sec.  Aperture f/25.  ISO 100.  Lens: Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS set at 200mm.  Camera: Canon 5D Mark III.  Gitzo tripod with Really Right Stuff ballhead and Wimberley Sidekick.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "The pursuit, even of the best things, ought to be calm and tranquil."  --Marcus Tullius Cicero

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