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Photographing Morning Bookmark and Share

About Lynne...
Lynne Eodice is a writer/photographer and popular contributor to Photographic magazine.

Morning conjures up thoughts of beautiful sunrises, the start of a new day, and perhaps brewing a cup of coffee while reading the newspaper. Photographers enjoy shooting early in the morning (and late in the day) for dramatic light. When shooting outdoors, the light is especially beautiful during the half-hour or so after sunrise. These early-morning hours can provide great lighting as well as the opportunity to photograph scenes before the crowds arrive. Additionally, industrial pollutants haven’t had a chance to settle in, making scenes even clearer than at dusk.

The color of light changes throughout the day, and has a warm cast early in the morning.
Reader photo by Charlene Samsel, Nescopeck, PA

Color Of Light
Our eyes adjust to the changing color that sunlight provides throughout the day. Nonetheless, film and digital sensors record the color of light the way they’re designed to see it. In the morning, the colors can range from a yellowish to rosy orange at sunrise. A neutral mix of colors occurs from mid-morning on a clear day, although shady areas will be tinged with blue. It’s important to recognize the changing color of light in order to compensate for it with film, or with your digital camera’s white-balance setting.

When shooting near dawn, you may want to bracket exposures to ensure good results.
Reader photo by Marie LaPlante, Springfield, VT

Use Silhouettes
If you’re photographing a sunrise, try to utilize an interesting foreground element against a colorful sky. A sky with beautiful oranges and reds can often be striking alone, but a foreground element can take your photos a step further by adding a center of interest and revealing something of your location. At dawn and dusk, a foreground subject will usually be rendered as a silhouette, so look for simple and easily recognizable shapes. A single person jogging on a road early in the morning, for example, may be a good subject for a silhouette.

At sunrise, foreground subjects will be rendered as silhouettes.
Reader photo by John Matthews, Harrogate, TN

Metering
When shooting at sunrise, you’ll find that several exposures will yield good results. Be careful to keep the sun out of the frame while you meter the light. Aim the lens at a bright area of sky just to the left or right of the sun itself. Hold the shutter button down halfway to lock in the exposure and then recompose your shot to include the sun if you want to.

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