Those Sunrise Photos

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Sunrise Photos are Hard Work

Never let anyone kid you, sunrise photos are hard work. But when you capture a good one, it’s always worthwhile.

Good sunrise, and for that matter, sunset photos start with a bit of planning. I use the excellent tool “The Photographer’s Ephemeris” to check out the position of the sun and sunrise time. In fact, if I am going away, the locations I want are pre-loaded on iPad and iPhone well before I leave. That’s the easy part.

To catch the sunrise you really want to be in position at least 30 minutes before the sunrise. So now we have an early start, trying not to wake up the wife while getting dressed and collecting camera gear (prepared the night before of course!). Then there is the matter of the weather. Cloudy skies can make great sunrise shots. They can also break them. If it is raining, maybe it’s time to go back to bed? In fact being there earlier can get some nice “blue hour” shots.

Once the weather dilemmas and so on are sorted, and you are your spot, it is largely a matter of watching and waiting as the sky changes, the clouds light up and the day comes alive. There are always plenty of subjects to keep a photographer busy. Many use a tripod, though I prefer to work hand-held, using whatever support is at hand, including my camera bag.

Technically, exposure can be difficult and fast changing. The contrast between ground an lit up sky can be quite extreme. I always shoot RAW, so that i can recover shadows and correct exposure errors. In general shutter speed should be just fast enough to avoid shake, and aperture as small as is feasible.

The shots on this page are all from Sandown, on the Isle of Wight. It took a ten minute walk to get to where I wanted to be, but the best shot (at the top of the page) came on the third morning. I couldn’t resist the ship on the horizon, though it did need the 70-300mm zoom and not the 17-50 standard zoom which I normally use.

So next time you are somewhere interesting, get out of bed early and let’s see some great sunrises!

Also have a look at my Tenby sunrises from earlier in the year.
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