For the past few weekends, I became a Sun Chaser again…. In one of the worst period of the year (monsoon season). But at the same time, it’s also the period where the sun aligns beautifully in my neighborhood park.I have visited this sunrise location several times in the past. But only to realized that it’s way more to the left and to be blocked by the trees and the estates far away.
But after having used the app “Sunrise Sunset on the Map”, I saw that the Sun’s position is in where I wanted it to be.
Although the sun may be in position, there are still many uncertainties. For me, the main factor is the clouds at the horizon. It’s never possible for me to determine if the horizon will be clear to see the ‘egg yolk’ or if the clouds will be fluffy.
The most I can predict when I wake up on the shooting day is, whether the skies is in complete overcast or not. Ironically, thanks to the light pollution in the city. If I see a very reddish sky, for me, it’s straight back to bed as I would think that it’s going to be a “boring” light. Well, but it’s not the case all the time thou.
To be honest, I got real lucky with this shot. With a ‘clear horizon’ to see the yolk. Of the period where the Sun gets into this position, it’s only 1 month. Since I only shoot on weekends, it’s only 8 times in the raining month. In this month, it’s already a blessing if it’s not raining.
To wake up to see a clear sky, I grabbed my gears packed last night and head straight for the location.
*If I can see the lights coming from the satellite, it’s clear enough for me*
After reaching the location, I recalled that the previous day, it was raining. So the shooting location was quite muddy, eventually, I settled down on this spot which I have to squat there in a puddle of rain water and feet dipped in mud.
It was uneasy at first, when I have to get my feet wet first thing in the morning. But after the sun rises, the uncomfortable feeling went away. And I knew that this IS the scene that I wanted. *At this point, my only grumble is that I don’t have a wider lens… I would have wished I had a wee bit more space for the trees and sky*
Shortly after sunrise, There’s nothing left to do, other than to head home to wash up and sleep…
Due to the dynamic range difference, the first thing which I did was to bracket my shots at 1 stop. (0, +1, -1ev). Then blend them manually in any HDR tools of choice.
I’m never a big fan of HDR, but I do recognize the need for it in some scenes.
After I’ve processed them and have it uploaded on Facebook, my mentor/friend also commented that I could get it done without HDR. Out of curiosity, I tried it. Indeed, I can get real close to the above. But it’s just that to get the exact same tones, it will take alot more time to fine tune them. For the single shot processing, I chose the 0ev shot which is the limits of my sensor dynamic range in both highlights and shadow recovery without too much noise in the shadows.
But personally, I still like the HDR processed one… Mainly because I’m really lazy to get the tones right in the single shot exposure as the HDR one is already “there” where I wanted it..
I think it’s about time I start planning to shoot some Christmas stuffs next weekend as it’s really round the corners… I will see how it can be done with the “cooperative” weather…