Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sunrises: Coast to Coast

Shooting sunrises are a challenge to me, primarily because it involves waking up very early. Once you surmount that first one, we have other challenges to worry about.
These can be categorized as:

  1. Photographical Challenges
  2. Logistical Challenges
Before delving into these, Here's a sunrise shot on the East Coast (the one I live on)  of the United States.

East Coast
Sunrise-PlumIsland 4

Sunrise at Plum Island, MA near Newburyport about an hour north of Boston.
Exposure:0.125 sec (1/8)|Aperture:f/16.0|Focal Length:210 mm|ISO Speed:100

For a successful shoot, you need to plan and have the right equipment, The right equipment will go a long way in overcoming the photographical challenge, coupled with the logistical planning will ensure a successful shooting experience.

The Photo Equipment List
  • Camera (preferably SLR, to give you finer control)
  • A Wide to medium Tele lens 17-50 or  24-70 (you're not goin to have too much time to change lenses)
  • Tripod and head
  • Cable Release
  • Charged batteries (I have missed out on many shots, just by forgetting the battery or worse forgetting to charge it)
  • Memory Cards
The Other Stuff to make your life easier
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Spirit Level, if your tripod/camera doesn't have one
  • Sunglasses 
  • Fleece Jacket or gloves ( It was a 52F by the Golden Gate Bridge in Sept)
  • Coffee
  • Relax, it's a sunrise, which happens everyday and you can go back and try
The Logistical Challenges:
Most likely you will need some form of private transportation to get to the spot. To find a spot, do a flickr search and look for geo-tagged photos.  You might be able to do a recon beforehand, to find the ideal spot to stand in. Get there early, at least 15-30 Mins before the sunrise or by first light to setup. Sometimes you might face hurdles like closed off gates, no roads leading to the spot, so getting there early will help.

A few tips to get good shots:
A wide angle lens will help you capture more dramatic sky as the colors change, though the sun will look small. You will need to shoot at f/8 thru f/11. Keep the ISO at 100. The White Balance at Auto.
Shoot in RAW, so you can post-process on the computer. Also, play around with bracketing, to get a variety of shots.

You can use filters, like a polarizer ( I used this on the shot below) or ND filters that I am going to try when I get them.

West Coast
The Golden Gate bridge

Sunrise at Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA. Shot from the Marin Headlands, north of SF.
Exposure:1/50|Aperture:f/8.0|Focal Length:29 mm|ISO Speed:100

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About

I am an Informatics Specialist, involved in analysis and visualization of biological and clinical data. Photography is what I do in my spare time. I live in Cambridge, MA.

This blog is the medium to showcase one photo per post from what I shoot. I will try to do post one a day!


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