Washington Sunrise

Washington Sunrise, by Bryan Davidson

Sunsets and sunrises don’t get much respect in the serious photography community, but they sure are popular with everyone else.  Maybe I’m not serious enough (note to self, remove previous post about Darth Vader), but I took a sunrise picture a few days ago and I’m quite proud of it.  I was on my way to work and had my new Pentax K-7 and 35mm Macro Limited.  Oops, wrong focal length.  I attempted a panorama handheld and got what I think is a fantastic result.  Armchair photo critics may tell me that I shouldn’t have included the powerlines on the left side of the picture, but I needed that tree and the powerlines to balance out Mount Rainier and the trees on the right.  As tempting as it was, I didn’t touch the saturation or vibrance sliders.  This is exactly what I saw in real life.

I used the free photo-stitching software that Microsoft provides with their Live Photo Essentials.  For those interested, my workflow went like this:

  1. Import raw DNG files into Lightroom
  2. Export 16-bit tiffs with no corrections
  3. Import tiffs into Photostitch and create panorama
  4. Export panorama at 100% size (~50 megapixels) as a tiff
  5. Import resulting tiff into Lightroom and look for stitching blemishes
  6. Adjust contrast, sharpening and noise reduction
  7. Export as a JPEG

Bored yet?  Be sure to click on the picture for a bigger version.  Don’t worry, it’s not the gigantic 50 megapixel version.  What do you think, are sunrises and sunsets acceptable subjects for serious photographers?

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5 thoughts on “Washington Sunrise

    1. Thanks, it was a pretty tough decision. I still have the A200, but it’s listed for sale. If it sells, I will miss it, but my K-7 is the same size so there’s not much reason to keep the A200 other than nostalgia (which is powerful with that camera).

  1. @bryan:

    It’s funny. Just today I read an article about 10 photos everyone needs to stop shooting and guess what was #1. I personally like a good sunrise or sunset image, especially if it’s in the mountains. I could do without some other scenes, but the mountains just have some kind of hold on me. Because I have seen plenty of them living in Colorado, I can feel and smell just what this sunrise felt like. Makes me miss Summit County and Denver.

    I looked at it full sized and the small version doesn’t do it justice. I tried to find the seams but there weren’t any visible to me. Great job on that part.

    I could see where the power lines could be an issue if this were going up on a wall and someone could come up close to it. But from a distance (or small on the screen) you’re right, they help to balance out the image. There are city lights there, too. What can you do? There just aren’t that many places where the average photographer can wake up, shoot a beautiful sunset, and then head to work without some sort of trace of humanity in the image. I think it’s a really nice image.

    1. Funny timing on that article. I can’t say I’m too much of a fan of the “Don’t take pictures of this” post. I’d probably include that kind of post on a “10 blog posts every needs to stop posting”. Just kidding, but I really don’t think there’s much point in telling people what they should or shouldn’t shoot. I think we (photographers, photo-bloggers, flickr users, etc.) get jaded about the kinds of images we see all the time and it hurts when shots we know are no-brainers to take get lots of positive attention. Someday I’ll set up a photo of a cat in front of a sunset with a scantily-clad model holding a baby dressed as a vegetable and I’ll be the richest photographer in the world.

      I grew up in New Mexico and visited Colorado fairly often, so I can see why you’d miss it.

  2. I wasn’t a big fan of the post, either. I actually didn’t make it all the way through the article before giving up on it. I just kept thinking, “What are we supposed to take pictures of if we shouldn’t be taking any of these photos?” He listed every possible image there is. Maybe it was a tough day with a client or something.

    One of the things about taking time to look at so much photography is you do get just a little jaded at everything. People are mostly the same and you see the same shots over and over. But looking at so many images also allows you to take the passion out of photography and see all of the image, which seems to take us deeper. It can also help with teaching others. You can see things they’d never see in a million years.

    I think that when it all comes down to it, the images that you remember have a story and purpose for existence. This is one of the things I love about reading Ansel Adams. The way he speaks about shooting each of his images is such an interesting story and makes you want to be a photographer like that. I recommend the article with a grain of salt.

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