Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sunrise on the dunes

The early morning light is what I enjoy when photographing the sand dunes in Death Valley. I have found that the first few minutes after the sun rise is the best for a sharp edge detail on the dunes. My hike into the dunes usually starts well before sunrise in order to get into a location that has the dunes I am looking for. It would appear when seeing the sunrise on the dunes that it is a very contrasty condition.  But when taking a meter reading from the sunlit side of the dune to the shadow side, it can be as little as three to four stops of light difference. It depends on the amount of light being reflected back into the shadows from an adjacent dune. In the days when I used film to photograph the dunes I would use a red filter and extend my development time to increase the contrast in the negative to achieve the desired look I wanted in my final print. With digital imaging I now control the amount of contrast in the scene in my post processing of the image. Visualization of the scene is key to the success of the final image, whether you are currently using film or have moved to digital for you photography.

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