The Magic Minute Before Sunrise
None of us like leaving the warmth and comfort of our beds in the morning, but unless we push ourselves to do it, we eliminate our chances of capturing some of the very best light of the day. For this photographer, the fast moving minutes that proceed a sunrise can be the magic moments of our lives. Just minutes before the sun shows it face for another day, it shares its' most intimate of light. While the wind has not yet begun to blow, and while the clouds still hold onto a bit of moisture, some of the most amazing scenes unfold to those of us on sight and prepared to make lasting memories.
Today we have some wonderful cameras that permit us to shoot images in very low light with truly incredible results. My Canon 5D Mk II is always along on these earliest of morning shoots. Even at 1600 iso, my images are clean and noise free. What little digital noise may be present can easily be removed with a bit of software noise reduction. I am rarely disappointed with the final images.
The goal for me is to capture the image and reproduce it as I saw it in the moment. Exposure is critical to accomplish this goal. With the use of today's technology, we can quickly check our exposures with the onboard histogram of our cameras. It leaves little excuse for any of us to miss the correct setting for a perfect exposure. The soft glowing colors of the morning light demand that we get the exposures correct "in camera", rather than relying on software to make correction later. If you want the image to appear as you witnessed it, then make sure the exposure is correct.
Finally, do not leave the tripod at home. YOU NEED YOUR TRIPOD ! No excuses. And, don't forget to throw your cable release in the bag as well. These kinds of images require that we use proper technique. It only takes a few seconds longer to get it right. Happy shooting.