From Beginning to End

There’s nothing quite like a day in the field with your cameras. The best days begin with the rising sun and end when it sets.

The detail rich sunrise/sunset photos that you often see today are getting common place, but they are usually beautiful.  Those bright and beautiful clouds combined with non-silhouetted foregrounds, have added a new dimension to sunrise photography.  HDR photography has been a game changer and we are all richer for it.  Just the same when something’s gained, often something is also lost.

When I began switching to nature as my specialty, much of my first success came from sunrises/sunsets.  It is a great subject for inroads into new markets.  Most were calendars and some were covers and foldouts in magazines.  When birds became my top subject, covers and foldouts were very slow to arrive.

Sunrise/sunset photography can many a lot of different things, depending on your location and your treatment.

In the first image below, I capture reflections of sunrise clouds in a Lake Michigan tidal pool. The next is Wilson’s Arch in Utah.  I stopped at this roadside arch in 1992 on my way out of Canyonlands N. P.  The arch is not as beautiful as most, but the moment that the rising sun illuminating the center of it, beautify ensuedDSC_3375b


Direct sunrises that have defined shapes to silhouette, are an art that seems to be dying.  Silhouettes and reflections will always be my favorites.  I look for crisp shapes that complete the picture.  I was never above using manmade objects to complete my image.2DSC_0020b



Let’s look at the sunrise/sunset art of five great photographers.

I love this Ruth Hoyt sunrise of the Arizona Desert.  She keeps the tradition alive of silhouetting recognizable objects.  This image is well thought out and of course the sunstar really sets it off.1891009_3902860907589_1573030181_n

Guy Tal is one of the best known landscape artists in America.  This amazing image is composed by a photographer that is comfortable enough with his work to try unique compositions.  Very few Guy Tal images suffer from a “color overload” which tells me this color is natural. In my own experience, this color is normal when you have a storm cloud being illuminated by the rising sun. Love it!1959726_10201953464930686_1017819663_n

Kevin McNeal has graced these pages before, and for good reason.  This lighter, gentler sunrise is beautiful. To me it appears like there was a graduated neutral density filter employed here rather than HDR editing.  Either way I really like the mood.1209375_10152260800791181_2011950606_n

This pano was made by Lewis Kemper and it also has that lighter gentler feeling to it. It works great in this format.  It appears to be a crop rather than a panoramic stitch accomplished in the editing process1779296_10202593893800461_2075236573_n

Ron Bigelow is a photographer who shoots a lot of sunrise/sunsets.  His photos were small so I decided to include two of them. He also writes a photo blog and sunrise/sunset is one of his subjectssunrise-sunset-1-11. sunrise-sunset-1-14

If you’d like to visit the mind of a great photographer, and understand how one migrates from the world of being a wedding photographer to a nature photographer, read the  Charles Glatzer interview——Life Focus  The images alone are worth the visit.

I have no words of wisdom or profound statements to leave you with today.  I know what your thinking……sheesh, he finally ran out of words.

Have a great day,                                                                                                                            Wayne

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3 Responses to From Beginning to End

  1. ron says:

    Wayne, the first statement of….. begin with the rising sun and end when it sets. You and I have traveled together so many times and our day started 3 hours before sunrise and ended two hours after sunset. 8>)

    • True. You have to get there first. I have already left at 10 p.m. the night before. Of course the truth is it is often wise to start the actual shooting before the sun rises, and keep shooting after it sets.

  2. ron says:

    As you taught me professor.

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