OK, I’m the first to admit I’m a slug-a-bed. I hate getting up in the morning. In fact if I get out of bed, I figure the world owes me something.

But as a photographer, I am supposed to be up early and on the road to catch sunrise. I hate the early reveille, but the rewards are sometimes worth it. Take this day, for instance. We agreed to start at 4 a.m. to get to Cape Royal on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. After driving through the pitch dark and getting there as the sky lightened, we hurried to the overlook and set up. Before long we got what photographers are constantly looking for: Soft, warm sunlight as the star passes over the horizon and shapely clouds to add interest to the sky. The image below is (oh, I hate to make this public: so many angry ‘purists’ carp and argue about using the process) an HDR image. That is, it’s three exposures, one to capture the highlights properly, one for the middle tones and one to be sure the shadows aren’t pitch black. Photoshop now does a pretty good job of combining the three images to balance the local contrast and we get the following image. The clouds were moving some, so they register differently on the three images and, therefore, show motion in the final product, but clouds move. Nothing we can do about that. (Be sure to click on the images to see a larger view with much better color rendition.)

Photographs from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Sunrise, Wotans Throne

A few minutes later, Rodger was standing next to me, holding something in his hand. “You can try this if you want,” he said. I checked it out and it was a 14mm lens. Super-wide angle. At first I thought it would be too much, but decided to try it. I slapped it on the camera, then composed the image. It took a while because this lens is so wide that the feet of my tripod were in the image at first. Once I got things shifted around and the lens pointed up, the light was a little more open and I didn’t need to make an HDR exposure series. This is a pretty straight capture from the camera. Now I gotta get a wide lens. Or spend more time in the field with Rodger. Either one would be good.

Photographs from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Sunrise, Wotans Throne #2

More to follow.