Tag Archives: sunrise photography

New Years 2015 – Skyline Photography

I don’t usually like to get thick into the weeds when it comes to creating a photo. I do get technical, but I’m fully aware lots of people don’t like reading all that stuff.

I’m preparing to do a skyline panorama of Chicago. This morning I went to the Adler Planetarium to take these photos. It was 6 AM when I got out of the car. It was FREEEZING out, btw!

Here’s the photo:

Chicago Skyline from Adler Planetarium. New Years morning, 2015.
Chicago Skyline from Adler Planetarium. New Years morning, 2015.

I took about 5 images going from left to right. This one is roughly the center image. Whenever I do a panorama, I almost always at MOST move the camera’s field of view only about 1/3 of the frame.  Then I take another photo.

When I’m stitching a panorama, I’ll try it one of two different ways. First, I’ll try it in Photoshop. This is usually easy but also takes a long time for the computer to do.

The second method I use is a free program from Microsoft called Microsoft Composite Editor. This program is actually pretty quick. The knock I have against it is that it requires me to create 16-bit tiff files to my hard drive.

But the problem that I have with creating panoramas happens regardless of which program I use. A panorama program will stretch the image if you tell it to stitch to maintain PERSPECTIVE. The tends to stretch the lines so that they are all straight. Straight lines matter with architecture. But, it stretches out the sky, too. What is the problem with that? What used to be clean and clear sky is now showing pixels that I couldn’t previously see.

There are several things I can do to minimize that, but it takes a bit more work. It would be lovely if there was a tool that minimized this problem all in one step, though.

So, that’s my riff on panorama stitching. If you found it interesting, let me know.

Sunrise on the Firehole River, Yellowstone National Park.

This was another photo from the first morning I had in Yellowstone National Park this year. The fog in this photo is really steam from the hot springs that feed the Firehole River. There is a wolf in the distance catching it’s breakfast, too.

This proved to be perhaps the best morning of the whole trip. The clouds were great, it wasn’t raining when I woke up, and the wild life was really participating in the show, without having to run into a bear. Take advantage of what you get, because you never know when the show will come to an end!

Sunrise on the firehole river

The morning of the burned and other news…

Today’s photo was from my first morning in Yellowstone this year.  I was on my way to Fairy Falls which is about a 2.7 mile hike from the parking lot that is not far from the Grand Prismatic Spring. If you’ve never gone for a hike at 5 AM, I highly recommend it in the summer. You get to see the pre-sunrise all the way through. There are so many colors in the sky!

But today’s photo wasn’t of the sky, but the reflection of the sky in the hot springs feeding the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park. The park’s fire history is also reflected here and some of the actual fire history is laying down in the river, too. By the way, the logs did have a blue cast on them. This was in part because of the dark settings, but also because of the mold that grows on them.

Burnt lodgepole pine  in the hot springs feeding the firehole river close to the grand prismatic spring in Yellowstone National Park.
Burnt lodgepole pine in the hot springs feeding the firehole river close to the grand prismatic spring in Yellowstone National Park. Clicking the photo will bring you to http://fullperspectivephotos.smugmug.com

Here’s the other news, I was recently enrolled into The Arcanum. This is a photography and arts education establishment run by Trey Ratcliff (and of course several others!).  I’m actually surprised to be included. It’s run as an apprentice/master style of education. I’ll be learning along 19 other apprentices in my cohort.

I am learning so much from The Arcanum. It’s only been little more than a week and I feel that my approach to photography and the art of image making has been changed for the better. I don’t think I’ll have much to report on this learning process until I’ve gone through my first major critique.

I am seriously honored to be included with this group. The photographers in my cohort have all been doing this craft far longer than I have. While I’m sure that my ‘master’ will impart a fair bit of knowledge, I’m sure I’ll learn just as much from my co-apprentices.

The education style is in many ways like taking a masters level classes at a university. But then, my Bachelors degree is a Bachelor of Arts (History). So, maybe it’s different in the sciences in upper education?

I hope you’ll get to see some significant improvement in my photography in the coming months!

Arches National Park- North Window Sunrise

Sunrise through the North Window Arch

This was at Arches National Park on July 1, 2014. I was pretty thrilled to be there. This was the last day of my vacation that also took me to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons National Park.

Side note: I would have visited this park last year if someone hadn’t thrown a lit cigar but with it’s wooden cigar ring at my car window  as I was entering the Grand Canyon National Park last year.  That cracked my windshield. I still saw the sunrise at the Grand Canyon, but after that I traveled as fast as I reasonably could to Grand Junction, CO to get the windshield replaced.

There is another arch that is part of this general formation called the South Window Arch. But this one was a little easier to set up at. It’s amazing how when the sun rises, so does the wind! The wind just funnels through these arches, picking up all sorts of sand and what not! It made changing lenses impossible. But it was also making life difficult for my tripod. It’s a heavy and sturdy tripod, too. I wish I had more time for this park, but maybe I’ll get to it again in the future?

North Window Arch in Arches National Park at sunrise on July 1, 2014.
North Window Arch in Arches National Park at sunrise on July 1, 2014.

Driftwood Sunrise

Just taking a shot at sunrisephotography. 🙂 Something about this is just pleasing to me when left on the screen. 
This is the first time I’ve had something in the foreground to work with on a shot like this.  But I didn’t realize just how low to the ground that I had to keep the camera. The tripod was pretty much useless! I used my foot instead.
Driftwood Sunrise
There was a moment with this morning on the beach when I was going back to my car and there were a couple of girls just enjoying the morning.  Maybe they were out for a run or a swim or something? They aproached me to take their photo. I graciously abliged.
They wanted the sunrise behind them, but their faces were pure shadow. So, I directed them to turn so the sun lit up their faces a little bit. I wish I used my camera, instead I used their iphone. That’s ok. It made my day. They were really happy with it and so was I!

Easter Morning Sunrise over Lake Michigan

Happy Easter!

This is one of those mornings you HAVE to go to church.  This includes many people that ONLY go twice a year. That means the churches will be packed. This means getting up early. Well, if I was getting up early, then I might as well get up earlier than that to get an sunrise on Easter!

By the time I got in the car, my options had already removed getting to downtown Chicago for sunrise at 6:04 AM. Evanston was also out of bounds. I didn’t want to go north to Waukegan, so I chanced something out by Glencoe.

I don’t know Glencoe all that well. Thankfully, they have a public beach that was open! Thankfully, I also have an Android phone with google maps to help me find it!

Easter morning in the Chicago Area (Glencoe, IL). Today is a new beginning.
Easter morning in the Chicago Area (Glencoe, IL). Today is a new beginning.

Processing wise, all I used was Adobe Lightroom! Some graduated filters here and there, a little bit of brushing this and that, and a few healing brush clicks and I was pretty happy with it. I hope you are too!