Getting up before dawn for "soft light"

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by Tobers, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. Tobers

    Tobers
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    Inspired by Liquid's description of the "golden hour" as something akin to low sun shining through a shower curtain, I got up at 05:00 today to see if I could figure out what it is all about.

    Oh my God that's early! Sunrise at 06:00 enabled me to get back over to Windsor Great Park to see what I could find. Things to note:

    1) it's cold - frost on the ground
    2) the grass is wet with dew and your trousers & shoes get soaking
    3) the light changes very fast
    4) you need to know what you want to take a picture of and have a plan

    I ended up wandering rather aimlessly as the light changed. I missed a whole bunch of shots because I didn't have a proper plan and by the time I'd worked out what I wanted to do, the sun was "too high" i.e. the soft yellow/red tinge had gone.

    I also found that my tripod is completely and utterly ***** - I needed longish exposures and although it looked solid, a lot of shots are blurred from camera movement - Manfrotto 190XPROB (I think that's right) is on my shopping list.

    I couldn't figure out what filters to use (if any at all) and lost more time fannying about putting them on & taking them off, and swapping them between lenses. I missed a beautiful layer of mist over the grass which lasted about 30 seconds before it was gone. Grrr!

    I finished up with 3 or 4 decent shots which I need to post-process (I wont put them up "naked" - too embarassing!) so I'll get those on tonight and post them here.

    However, it was an invaluable experience. The light really is different, making some things stand out that didn't before, some fade into the background etc, with the light characteristics changing literally minute by minute. I'll certainly do it again sooner rather than later especially as dawn will be hideously early in the coming months.

    Highly recommended!

    Toberzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
     
  2. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Yep I was pretty astounded at the difference on that Scottish meet. My problem is I'm not an early riser....but I think I'm going to have to change my ways....

    Look forward to seeing the results

    Gordon
     
  3. shb77

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    Is your tripod the Velbon Ultra Luxi F - as mentioned on the Jessops Offer thread?
    I only ask as I was thinking about getting one of these.
     
  4. tryingtimes

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    Interesting stuff Tobers. I'll take your comments on board for when I do something similar. Particularly the "have a plan" part.
    Look forward to seeing your shots later.
     
  5. Liquid101

    Liquid101
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    Can't believe you got up!

    I actually woke up at 4.15 this morning, and thought about it for a split second - but decided against it. I lay there awake for nearly an hour trying to get back to sleep. My trusty collection of 'wake up to money' podcasts did the trick in the end :boring:

    As it happens, the light wasn't great here this morning anyway.

    Looking forward to seeing your results. :thumbsup:

    Re: the new tripod - I just picked up a 190CL with 390 Head for £90 from Jessops in the highstreet. (cheaper than I could find online anywhere.) It's very sturdy and offers me everything I wanted without going for the pro model. I was going to post a quick review if anybody's interested.
     
  6. Gizmo 76

    Gizmo 76
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    Looking forward to your results Tobers, if the shot are up to your usual standard they should be pretty darn good!! :thumbsup:

    Also interested in your review of the Tripod Liquid, next thing on my list . . . I think :rolleyes: I'm going to post a review up later on a Crumpler Match Maker bag I just bought....
     
  7. 1LeeDenton

    1LeeDenton
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    Hi Liquid - as someone who will be getting their first DSLR within the next two weeks (wife buying for my birthday, but God its dragging), I have already thought that I would like to/need to buy a tripod, so any advice/personal reviews would be most appreciated, especially as the one you mention from Jessops doesn't seem like a bad price :thumbsup:
     
  8. stevegreen

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    Good effort Tobers :smashin:

    I really like taking pictures at night, but that usually requires some will power too, not as much as an early rising though though.

    I reckon we should have a collective day and all agree to get up and out by 5am and post the results. That would give us all a little push to get out and see the early morning light from a photographic point.

    Who's up for it?
     
  9. md644

    md644
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    Haven't done so for a while but went through a phase a couple of summers back of getting up pre sunrise (4-30ish) for photgraphs. Fantastic light and somehow different to dusk/sunset. Been to lazy to do it recently though....

    Another advantage I "discovered" (and subsequently used) is that north facing buildings etc. are sunlit, which unlocks some very different opportunities.....
     
  10. Tobers

    Tobers
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    The tripod is a Velbon one but it is a really cheapo job. I'm quite appalled at myself for actually having it to be honest - it is truly rubbish.

    Steve - I think your idea is excellent. Fancy starting a "prepare to show us your dawn shots" thread? Agree a date and we all go for it. Maybe state that it must be taken outside otherwise some bright spark will have the camera on a tripod with remote release next to their bed :D
     
  11. Liquid101

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    I'm up for it - as long as it's a Saturday or Sunday when I can grab an hour when I get back - I need my beauty sleep.

    It'll also have to be a time when we all have decent weather - not much point getting up at 5am on an overcast morning.
     
  12. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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  13. stevegreen

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    I've started another thread :smashin:
     
  14. Mics49

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    May I ask - just to make sure - are you refering to a brand new Velbon Luxi F which you might have just picked up from Jessops? Or is it about another old one you have? I really would appreciate your confirmation as I could still cancel the ("back-/") order. :thumbsup:
    (would be dire news though ... :( )
     
  15. Tobers

    Tobers
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    Nope - I'm referring to a crap Velbon thing probably cost £10 about 5 years ago. It is now in the bin.

    The Luxi F looks quite good actually so I'm sure you'll be OK.

    Saying that I've just splashed out on a new carbon fibre jobbie - pics & report shortly...
     
  16. Mics49

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    Thanks a lot for that! :thumbsup: I shall await the Velbon in good hope then.
     
  17. Tobers

    Tobers
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    OK - here come the pictures. I must say that I am now well impressed by this morning light stuff. I've done minimal post processing to these.

    Camera is a Canon 350D. I used a 17-55 F2.8 IS, 50mm 1.8 and a 70-200 F4L. Some have a polarising filter on, sometimes with a graduated ND filter. I'll try & remember which ones.

    I kept the ISO at 100 for all of these. The shutter speed varied considerably as the light changed and got brighter. You will need a decent tripod!

    First off, I passed this on the way to Windsor. It is in a place called Brookwood near Bisley. Exif says 05:46am!!! To be honest, this was probably a bit too early as the sun wasn't yet up. Camera on my old crap tripod (4 shots wasted, 2 with deer in them :mad: ). Not much colour, so had to up the saturation a bit. 17-55 used. No filters.
    [​IMG]

    #2 Now at Windsor Great Park. Sun just coming up - I thought I'd get a silhouette shot of this old dead tree. No post processing on this at all apart from the border - the colours were just like this. Use the 50mm 1.8, no filters.
    [​IMG]

    #3 Found this copse of trees. 17-55 fitted with polarising filter. Now I'm starting to get what this is all about. Check out the reddened trunks and the amazing colour in the leaves. Compare that to my post from yesterday ("trying to capture spring"). Awesome. Just did a minor crop and cloned out a little sign.
    [​IMG]

    #4 Same again. 06:19am by this time. Again, lost a load of shots due to the tripod. Lovely colours :eek:
    [​IMG]

    #5 Wandered along a bit and got this one. The trees are slightly silhouetted - maybe would have been better from the sunnier side. Cloned a couple of cars out, and upped the saturation a tad to bring out the sky.
    [​IMG]

    #6 Dug out the 70-200 and got this one. This was 06:28. Nice haze on the ground. In fact, whilst fannying about changing the lens, this layer of mist about 2 feet thick formed about 1 foot off the ground. By the time I had the lens on and realigned the stupid tripod, it had gone. Amazing. Cropped this a bit, and it had the polariser on which didn't make much difference at this angle.
    [​IMG]

    #7 Probably just a bit past the best time now - see how the light is getting harsher - more white. 06:48am now. This one with the 17-55 and polarising filter. Would have been nice not to have that line of trees in the background and just have these three nicely aligned against a blue sky.
    [​IMG]

    #8 Last one. Long grass covered in melting dew soaked my trousers. I had goretex trainers on so my feet were OK.
    [​IMG]

    Love to hear what you think about this lot. Was it worth getting up so early?

    Cheers

    Toberzzzzzzzzzz
     
  18. Fozzybear

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    Looks worth the early rise. Nice mistiness to these and I especially like 5, 6 & 7. :smashin:

    Hmm... if I can work out where to walk (and can get up that early) I might take up the Sunday morning challenge - a walk along the river/canal might work.
     
  19. cedmondson

    cedmondson
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    #3 & #4 have wonderful colour. #1 has an appealing 'ghostly' quality.
    #5 is nice too - but I agree that it might have been better from a different angle.
     
  20. Liquid101

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    Really nice Tobers. No 7 for me.

    That light looks..... just like sunlight through a big white shower curtain. ;)
     
  21. wobblebottom

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    Those Are soooooo Impressive... Love to be able to do that.. I really like number 4.. The colours are outstanding.. well done...:thumbsup:
     
  22. Tobers

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    Thanks all. Wobblebottom - once you are out of bed the hard bit is done!

    I reckon the misty air makes dawn shots more atmospheric than sunset ones. At the moment with clear skies, you get a good dew which mists off as the sun comes up. As we move into summer it probably wont be as good, so get out there now!!
     
  23. wobblebottom

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    Tobers- would love to , no probs getting up.. im an early bird anyway.... kids prevent me tho.. and lack of anything remotely worth snapping in near vacinity.. but next time the kids are away il do it..:thumbsup:
     
  24. SweetGirl

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    T.
    These are really great. Much better than i imagined. I really love the first and sixth one.

    Definitely worth getting up for....:clap:

    So when you planning to do this again :)
     
  25. senu

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    The images are incredible....:thumbsup: The hr of the day... sucks ,.... a bit:D


    It was....definitely:smashin:
     
  26. vulkan75

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    1 and 7 for me mate.

    well done! :clap: you early riser, you..:smashin:
     
  27. Tobers

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    Went to bed v.early last night. I was falling asleep on the sofa!

    All primed up again now and looking forward to Sunday morning!
     
  28. salubrious_k

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    Most of those images are stunning.

    Damn it, I wish I liked early mornings (and lived in the countryside)
     

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