Sunrise in Wisconsin

The Puget Sound area is incredibly beautiful, but with mountains on both to the east and to the west, the mountains block the sun when it is really low on the horizon when it is coming up and going down.  So the last couple of times I was visiting family in Wisconsin, I’ve wanted to capture a nice sunrise or sunset but never got around to it.  This morning I got my chance.

The Equipment:

  • Tripod
  • Canon 5D Mark II Camera
  • Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS Lens
  • Circular Polarizer (I used a B+W Slim Circular Polarizer)
  • Remote Shutter Release (I use the Canon TC-80N3)

The Set Up:

  1. I had the 24-105mm lens mounted on my camera at the time.  When the sun starts coming up, you really have a  small window of time to catch it because it moves pretty quickly off the horizon.  To get this close to the sun, ideally I would have used a longer lens, but I didn’t have time to change it.  Probably 300-400mm would have been ideal (I would have had to settle with my 70-200mm since that is my longest lens), but obviously you can make due with what you have.
  2. The lens was zoomed to 105mm and the camera was set to aperture priority, f-stop set to f/9.0, ISO 100, which gave a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second.  The metering was set to spot metering and exposure was set to -1 stop.  I would recommend trying a variety of settings to see what works best for you, but this may be a good starting point.
  3. I wanted to add some interest to the photo by including the tree branches on the right.

The Post Processing (Using Lightroom 2):

original photo

Original photo before cropping and post processing

  1. I knew I’d have to crop this one pretty substantially, but with the 21 megapixels of the 5D Mark II, I was able to crop a ton and still get a 1076×717 pixel photo, which may not print huge, but views on a screen pretty well (in terms of High Definition TV, it is similar to the 720p size).  Here is the original:
  2. I changed the white balance to cloudy (this could have been done in camera when the shot was taken as well)
  3. I adjusted the blacks to +21
  4. For the Blog, I exported at 550 x 367 (just set the long edge to resize to 550 pixels), sharpening set to “screen” and “normal”
  5. That’s it – not much work needed for this one.

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