I don’t really know how I got this shot. I mean, I know how I got it in a mechanical sense, but the fact that I was standing right in the middle of a venn diagram consisting of so many disparate elements still kind of boggles my mind.
I leave for work about the same time each morning: 7:10 to 7:15am. That means twice a year there is a window of about one week where I have the opportunity to get shots of the sunrise, barring any atmospheric troubles like stormy or overcast skies. On the morning of September 19, 2019, I could see a bit of fog left on the ground as the sky turned from black to gray while I was getting ready for work, so after hugging my wife and kids I grabbed my Nikon D750 and 70-200 f/2.8 lens to see if I might be able to catch something in the way of a foggy scene on the way to work.
Normally I bike to work but on this morning I had to drive, so used the opportunity to turn east out of my driveway instead of west. Two blocks later I was looking out over a field on one of the north/south streets that passes along the edge of town, and I pulled over to get this shot of the fog hovering around the low-lying grassy areas.
I didn’t really know what type of picture I was going for but this seemed fine, and I was glad I had the chance to capture this scene right as the sun was coming up. So I got in my car and went on my way only to pull to an almost-screeching halt about 100 yards later. On my left was one of the most beautiful sunrises I could recall seeing, partly because of the brilliant oranges reflected on the clouds but also because of the foggy mist in the foreground. I ran across the street with my camera in hand, dialed in a few settings, and started shooting.
I zoomed in all the way to 200mm and shot at f/11, ISO 100, but even then the sun was so bright that the picture was overexposed and I knew I’d never be able to recover enough highlight information to get a good image. Rather than adjusting my settings manually (I almost always shoot in Aperture Priority with Auto-ISO) I dialed in a -2EV exposure compensation which got me just the right image. The foreground was almost completely black but the sun and the sky were properly exposed, and then with a little fiddling on the RAW file in Lightroom I was able to get just the right end result. Not a minute later and this scene was entirely gone, with the sun too far up on the horizon and the fog beginning to clear, and I was so incredibly grateful I was able to get the opportunity to shoot this. It was a good reminder that God’s mercies are new every morning, and a good reminder to thank and praise Him for each day we have on this earth.
Cory Beck says
Very nice scene and great composition. This is proof of the grandeur that surrounds us if we only take the time to look!
Thank you Cory! This scene is literally two blocks from my house, and yet it took years for me to even think about taking a sunrise photo there. You’re right–we just need to open our eyes and look around!
Rebecca Burlingham says
I so appreciate you giving your settings, including that you are not afraid to use a Priority Setting. I teach on the Priority Settings, always referring to the entire Exposure Triangle so that eventually my students will have the ability to think through the entire exposure triangle. But I always tell them that modern DSLR’s have great capabilities. Do not be afraid to switch to a semi-auto mode. They love the “cheaters” like Exposure Compensation for quick adjustments.
Oh I know what you mean Rebecca! I used to think that real photographers only shot in Manual, but that’s just silly. Real photographers use the tools they have to get the shots they want! And if one of the Priority settings helps, then I’m all for it. Keep up the good work with your students!
Becky Reed says
Wow, this is spectacular! I keep meaning to get up a little earlier to catch the sunrise, and this has inspired me. Thanks for sharing.
I’m glad I could offer a little inspiration on this chilly morning, Becky!
Gorgeous shot. Makes me sad that I’m almost always on the freeway at sunrise.
I know what you mean. I’m almost always either at home with my kids or already at my office when the sun comes up. There’s a two-week window in the fall and spring when sunrise coincides nicely with my morning routine so I try to take those opportunities when they happen.
Tom J Frye says
That is an award-winning photo right there, Simon. Very nice! I urge you to turn it into Only In Oklahoma to be included in their last article on their daily postings. We have Only In Nebraska here every morning and I know there are other states included with this same theme. Submit it to them! I dare you! I may even use it on a future book cover with your express permission.
That’s a good idea Tom! I’ll definitely submit it to them. And if you’re serious about wanting to use it as a book cover, just email me :)
David Beresford says
One of your best Simon. Very atmospheric both figuratively and literally. The lovely high level clouds (cirrostratus I think) make a fantastic backdrop and you have captured the fog beautifully. There is also a great sense of depth. Congratulations.
Wow. Thanks so much for your comments, David! For me it’s the fog that really sets this one apart. I’ve taken a few sunrise photos here and there, but never with this much fog in the foreground and I’m thrilled that you enjoyed this particular element of the image :)
I regularly follow your work and this one was eye- catching! I am a novice and still
my photography is a work in progress. Its a beautiful sunrise captured by you, the fog adds a bit of mystery to the photo. I am inspired by this photograph to wake up a bit early and witness nature’s beauty. Best wishes and I look forward to your regular pictures! Thanks for mentioning the settings you used for this work.
Thanks for saying that, Rahul! I’m really glad you enjoy the photo and I hope you are able to take some sunrise shots of your own!
Jill McKechnie says
Amen! And love this gorgeous sunrise photo!
Thank you Jill!