My Favorite: Bryce Canyon Sunrise
By PF Staff in Favorite Photos on Dec 23, 2012
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
- Pentax K-10D on tripod
- Pentax 18-55mm lens
- Shutter speed: 1/8s
- Aperture: F22
- ISO: 400
- Shooting mode: Av
- File format: DNG RAW
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.