Photo Of The Day: Atmospherics

Blogged January 17, 2016

To say its been an unusual winter in coastal and eastern North Carolina would be an understatement.  To say its been an usually warm winter would not be.  Many mornings, its seemed more like late summer than winter with clear blue skies and temperatures in the 70’s to the low 80’s.  When we’ve had clouds, more often than not, its been all clouds, overcast with no sun.  Those kinds of days are not conducive to spectacular dawns like the above.

 I’ve often thought that we have more picturesque mornings when colder weather prevails in advance of a front which brings clouds and precipitation and that was the situation heading into this weekend.    A heavy frost and broken clouds welcomed the dawn with a fabulous show.  I took 20 shots or so as the sun moved closer to breaking the horizon.  The shot above was number 10 and marked the zenith of the light show that morning.

There isn’t a lot of prep.  I have an app that tells me the position of the sun, the time of the dawn and sunrise etc and I always check “Weather Underground Radar” for the zip I’m in.  A walk to the field takes maybe 10 minutes.  I seldom use filters on morning shots. Sometimes if the dawn is very bright, I’ll use a split neutral density filter.  As for settings:  As low an ISO as possible, f/22, manual exposure and spot metering particularly after sunrise.  I also remove the UV filter from my lens. It helps cut down on the number of sun flares on the glass.    The most important setting is probably your alarm clock.  You’ve got to be there before the show starts.  There’s a very short window for getting good dawn shots.  If you see it happen before you’re on location, its over.  Thanks for the read and the look.

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