My Favorite: Bryce Canyon Sunrise

By PF Staff in Favorite Photos on Dec 23, 2012
My Favorite: Bryce Canyon Sunrise

This is my favorite image of all the photos I took during a photo trip to Bryce Canyon with 15 other photographers.  This was shot with a Pentax K10D during the last week in May after a freak winter storm blanketed the beautiful canyon with snow.  It was freezing cold and at about 5:30 a.m. when I captured this scene.  Our group leader decided to step out and get closer to Mother Nature.  His bright red jacket was a perfect contrast to the grey morning.

When I look at this picture I feel the cold again and remember seconds later as the sun broke through the fog.  I felt this image was a keeper when I clicked the shutter.  My K10D has become an extension of my eye so the image is how I envisioned it.  This rugged camera gives me so much confidence when I’m outdoors.  My batteries have never failed in cold weather and the camera is so solid.  It’s like a Jeep that you can go anywhere. The day before I was out in a snowstorm and taking photos.  My Canon and Nikon friends stayed inside because their cameras were not weather proof.  They missed great once in a lifetime photo opportunities.  I only  missed the hot coffee by the fireplace.

Equipment & Settings Used

Before

After

Post-Processing

Adobe Lightroom 4

I try to limit post processing  on landscape photos to cropping, contrast exposure and levels. I don’t add clouds or things that weren’t in the original image. As they say, Don’t mess with Mother Nature.” I would say that 95% of my post processing is in Lightroom 4 rather than Photoshop. 

My first step is to add a custom preset using the information Adobe provides for Pentax cameras and lenses.   Third Party lenses are also Profiled.  I made this a custom preset because I work from the top down and the Pentax presets from Adobe are down at the bottom under “Lens Correction” and “Camera Calibration.”  I don’t want to go to the bottom and then go back to the top.  The “Before Image” does not have this preset added.

I find the grid guides in Lightroom 4 very helpful.  Starting at the top I decided to crop the image from the right to pull my main subject away from the center.  I also wanted to create a leading line composition so your eye would go from the photographer to the canyon on the left. The rocks to the photographers left leg also form a nice arrow pointing to the canyon.  I also cropped some of the sky.

The white balance was okay.  Usually the Pentax preset usually takes care of it.  I find it easier to shoot in Auto White balance and correct in Post Processing.  If I change my WB I might forgot to change it for the next picture.

Next the exposure was increased by +0.24. 

Next: Contrast +26.  Highlights -17.  Shadows +33.  Clarity+17.  Vibrance +30 Sharpening 32.

- k9lover

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