The Japanese have a custom of watching the first sunrise of the year. My first year living in Japan friends took me to a Buddhist temple at midnight on New Year's Eve and then to a beach at sunrise. I really like this custom. So this morning shortly after 7am I took my camera and tripod out onto the frosty ground and watched the sunrise over an Iowa cornfield. You can see five jets already streaking to far off destinations so early in the new year!Read More
I once again woke up early to photograph the first sunrise of the new year, which is somehow already 2013. Last year was a little more spectacular as I made the big effort to drive out to Ft. Desoto and use the Sunshine Skyway Bridge as a background. This year I just took a few steps off my back patio to make these images of the sun rising over Smacks Bayou in the Snell Isle area of St. Petersburg, Florida.
Though there was a ripple across Smacks Bayou this morning, a decent reflection from the rising sun could still be seen. There were only a few low clouds in the sky, so in this case I found the water to be more interesting and made the foreground dominant in the framing of this shot.
It is always worth it to wake up early and photograph the sunrise. Did you get up and see the first sunrise of 2013? Did you have your camera with you (I hope!!)? Share your first sunrise photos in the comments below.
I was just thinking about a week ago how I have no photographs of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, one of the top landmarks in the entire Tampa Bay area. With New Year's Day 2012 approaching it seemed then a great chance to continue a Japanese custom, watching the first sunrise of the year, while finally photographing the bridge. I learned from a photographer in Japan that the best morning light is actually way before the actual sunrise. The above image was taken approximately 49 minutes before sunrise.
Dawn photography is similarly easy to night photography. If you have a stable tripod and a cable release, then it is basically just a matter of choosing the best shutter speed to produce the most vivid color and also of course composing the shot in an interesting way. With my Nikon D300 mounted on my Induro CT214 carbon fiber tripod, making these shots was no mess, no fuss. By that I mean the tripod takes away the physicality of holding the DSLR and heavy lens, correcting a shot just means turning one dial for shutter speed, and the act of making the shot itself is just holding the button on the light cable release. Painless!
In the fifteen or so minutes before the actual sunrise the light is already poor, especially compared to the light fifty minutes earlier. So in that time I did not even bother making any photos. Thus, it is important to know the exact minute of the sunrise so you can keep an eye on the time because once the good dawn light is gone, all that remains is to photograph the sun itself rising above the horizon. Once it is above, that is the end of the excitement.
Since the sunrise is well in the distance along the horizon, using a longer lens with a focal length of 200mm is very handy for being able to fill the frame. The above shot was taken at 200mm (300mm effective focal length).
Please put links to your New Year's sunrise photographs in the comments below!
This was only the second time in my life, and first time since high school, that I worked on New Year's Eve. From 7pm December 31, 2009 to 2am January 01, 2010 I was photographing the Treasure Island Yacht & Tennis Club's lavish New Year's Eve Party featuring John Secada and The Commodores.
The Treasure Island Yacht & Tennis Club's New Year's Eve event was my highest profile job to date. It was also my most prolific job too nearly filling to capacity three 8GB memory cards. Over the course of the 7 hours of shooting I literally only stopped shooting for four minutes as I ate half the sandwich I had packed away in my stowed camera bag. Ultimately, I delivered over 700 edited images to the client in just a one week turnaround.
There was no lack of activity during the New Year's party as there were three distinct areas for guests to dine, dance and party in. In the yacht club building itself there were two floors of entertainment. The second floor was an intimate setting with John Secada performing, and the third floor was a large and lively dining hall with The Commodores rocking the place.
The third location was actually right on top of a pool (see top photo), covered in a $90,000 system of plexiglass sheets that formed a see-through dance floor--that could only be used once as it would be too scratched to use again! Here a cover band called Stormbringer provided rock and pop stalwarts.
While it was great to have three areas to find candid event scenes to photograph, it made for a lot of stair climbing and grounds walking! Also, since I never took a real break and always had my Nikon D300 with a Nikkor SB-800 (thanks Pedro!) mounted on it around my neck, not to mention a Nikon D90 with Nikkor 50mm 1.8D lens too, by the end of my night my right arm had never been so tired from shooting before!
Despite the endurance challenges, this was by far my most exciting photography job. The guests, yacht club staff and the entertainers were all very friendly and made my job easier with their help. The guests were all in a really good mood and mostly loved to have their photograph taken. The staff was fun to talk to and get behinds the scenes info from (like suggestions to shoot from behind the bar). Special thanks to Sara for thinking of me for photographing this event. I could tell she put a tireless effort into making this a great event.