A Two Mile Sunrise

There is a spot here in Apalachicola that is great to photograph for sunrise and sunset.  It is called Two Mile.  It got it's name because it is 2 miles from the traffic light in town.  Clever, right?  It's hard to give people directions there and tell them it's name without them thinking you are just a wise guy.

Here is a sunrise shot that I took there the other morning.  While there were no clouds to make the sky very interesting, using more of the foreground and a small Aperture, like F/22, gave me a nice starburst on the sun.

ISO 125, 15mm, F/22 @ 1/2 second

I was able to capture this image using the Tamron 15-30mm Lens that I had borrowed from my teaching partner, David Akoubian.  I also had to borrow his Nikon to E mount adapter.  Don't worry though, I had my own camera...the Sony A7Rii.  All mounted a top a fancy new tripod I am trying out, the Sirui W-2204.  It is a waterproof tripod, so it's certainly working out great while out here shooting along the coast!

Sunset at Cunningham Cabin

Whenever I go to the Tetons, I always try to visit Cunningham Cabin.  It seems like I generally have much better luck with sunrises than sunsets in the Tetons, but I always try to get to Cunningham Cabin for at least one sunset.

ISO 100, 35mm, F/16 @ 1/15 second

Now, I'm always a fan of the sunstars, so when I can, I usually include them.  If you want to get a nice sunstar all you have to do is shoot at a lower aperture, like F/16 or lower.  Then once you've got your aperture selected, wait for the sun to just touch the horizon.  Once it first hits the horizon you only have a matter of a couple of minutes before the ability to get that sunstar is gone.

In the old days, I used to take bracketed photos of a scene like this.  What I mean is, I would take a photo that exposes for the foreground, then I would take a photo that exposes for the background, then I would blend them together in Photoshop.  This is the same effect you would get if you were using a Graduated Neutral Density Filter in the field.  

Over the last year and a half or so I've had with my Sony A7R, I began to notice that I could just take one shot and the sensor in that camera captures so much detail, that I can pull all of the detail I need out of one picture.

I processed this image in Lightroom then jumped into On1's Perfect Effects to finish it off.  Images like this benefit greatly from the "Golden Hour Enhancer" plugin found in On1's Perfect Effect Suite.  After applying that preset, I added another one of their presets for a vignette, "Big Softy".  "Big Softy" is by far my favorite preset for a vignette, however it was a little too strong for my taste on this image.  That's ok though, because I have the ability to dial down the opacity of each preset...just like you would do in Photoshop.

The image was made with my Sony A7R, LA-EA4 Lens Adapter and Tamron 24-70mm Lens. 

Snake River Overlook

Here's another quick shot from our time out in Grand Teton National Park.  This is from the Snake River Overlook.  Yes, the same place Ansel Adams took his famous image.  You, of course, aren't able to capture the exact image as Ansel did due to 70 years of tree and vegetation growth.  

We visited this place for sunset.  We were hoping when the sun dropped behind the mountains the reflections would create the god fingers from the bottom of the mountain up.  This didn't pan out for us...there must've been some clouds on the back side of the mountains blocking the reflection.  I did manage to shoot this image with the sun burst before the sun dipped behind the mountains, though.  

This was taken with the Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro Lens.  It really is an incredible travel lens designed for crop sensor cameras.  I found myself using this lens more than I had ever anticipated on this trip!

This was shot at 18mm, F/16, ISO 100 and 1/40th second.