Friday, 30 November 2018 19:41

When Sunrise Appears as a Layer Cake

The beauty of a Luftee Overlook sunrise is a matchless event in Nature. Looking over the headwater drainages of Beech Flats Prong, across the layered shoulder ridges of the Smokies Crest, the land of the Oconaluftee and its sibling streams is revealed, layer upon layer from the darkened depths of the valleys  to the wispy overhead cirrus catching the sun's light, while in between, the golden rays of dawn proclaim the magic of a new day - one that has never dawned before.

With a careful cropping across the bottom of the image, a focal length of 25mm gave me the wide angle-of-view I wanted. An aperture of f/16 provided depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 1/6th second at ISO 100 gave me an overall very slightly darker-than-medium exposure.

With a dynamic range as great as the one here, it would be very difficult - impossible actually - to hold the tonalities as my eyes saw them, even with the aid of a 5-stop graduated neutral density filter; so I chose to allow the foreground details to go darker for the sake of maintaining the preferred tones in the rising sun and the blue sky.


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  • Comment Link Donald McGowan Friday, 07 December 2018 11:45 posted by Donald McGowan

    Good morning, Everyone. Thank you all so very much for joining me for this conversation. Your kind and thoughtful comments are more than enough to brighten the otherwise somewhat dreary days of recovery, which is going very well, even if slowly. It will really be good to be able to be out and about soon and to slowly get back into being in the land that I miss so much.
    Hey Chris. Thanks for joining us. I hope all is well with you and Sue and the Buckeye State. I hope you will continue to glean much enjoyment from the Images as you continue your own journey of creativity.
    Hey Nancy T. You hit it exactly: it was a very humbling moment to see the earth-sky relationships around me expressed with such feeling. Thanks, too, for your kind wishes. We hope you'll be with us to climb some of those mountains. Walk in Beauty.
    Hi Ron, its always good to hear from you. I muchly appreciate your kind words and completely concur in you assessment: it makes getting up so early worthwhile.
    Hi Linda T. I really do appreciate your kind words; and you are so right: it you learn a few weather-reading skills and hold in your mind the image of a sunrise you've experienced that looks anything like the beauty you hold in your heart, it will always be worth rising early and being there. We're looking forward to seeing you in June.
    Ah, Donald; isn't it wonderful to have moments where the intake of breath so completely expresses the totality of the feeling at hand. I am so looking forward to hearing stories of your dual (Illinois-Arizona) citizenship. The desert awaits you, my friend.
    Hey Horace. I so appreciate your love of these mountains. Even if the visit is short, the story you can tell of being there is an excellent one. An each visit is a new chapter in an on-going romance. There are so many versions of Luftee Overlook; they are, I truly believe, endless. Be well, my friend.
    Hey Barbara. It's great to hear from you! I hope all is well in Texas. Yes, photography is, indeed, a way of healing. It is what encourages my activity each and every day. Bonnie and I likewise wish you the best and much joy on your creative path.
    Hi Ann. Thank you very much for being with us and for your thoughtful words. It sounds like your adventure across our area was delightful. You and Bonnie will have to share notes on "drive-by shootings." And, hopefully, our paths will cross again somewhere down the road.
    Hey Terry. It's always good to hear from you. Thank you for joining us. We hope you and Emily are well, and we also look forward to seeing you in the New Year. Being "good" during this recovery definitely isn't easy; but I'm doing my best. Walk in Beauty.
    Hi John. I know you well enough to know that you would savor every moment such as this, even if you were blindfolded and someone had to paint word pictures for you. Your great heart makes your journey special, my friend; and in Beauty you will always walk.
    Hey Karen. It's great to have you with us. I hope this finds you and Ray both well. I have a feeling that on your wonderful cross-country adventure from a couple of years ago you and sunrise developed a close relationship; and from some of your postings since then, it is evident that the relationship continues. I appreciate your thought on HDR and the use of contrast. HDR certainly has a place, but contrast is one of the great principles of design.
    Hi Hinda; it's great to hear from you! Your good advice is well-taken and I am trying my best to heed it. So very often during the past two months I have thought about a conversation we had in August that was very helpful to me as I went through this time. I hope all is well with you and you have chosen to get back on the creative journey that you enjoy.
    Hey Joel. I am so glad to hear from you; you were one of the folks I thought about when considering this Image. We have enjoyed a couple of excellent Luftee sunrises; and Bonnie and I look forward to sharing to sharing some from the UP with you before long. Your words on Dr. Lytle were very comforting and I shall always carry them with me as a pleasant part of the story of this time in my life. Walk in Beauty.
    What a wonderful conversation with all of you. I very much appreciate your taking the time to join me and to share your kind thoughts and feelings. May we all Walk in Beauty.

  • Comment Link Joel Price Monday, 03 December 2018 16:48 posted by Joel Price

    I've only experienced two Luftee sunrises, both in your company, but based on those two I concur heartily in your praise of them. This one is gorgeous.

    I'm glad to hear that you've come through the surgery well, and on the mend!

  • Comment Link Hinda Monday, 03 December 2018 09:32 posted by Hinda

    Happy to hear you are in the mend. I will give you the same advise I gave to my grandson when he went to college “Don’t do anything stupid”. Take good care of yourself and listen to Bonnie.

  • Comment Link Karen Lemoine Monday, 03 December 2018 06:53 posted by Karen Lemoine

    Early morning is a special time. The glorious day is fresh with promise. In this age of HDR it is tempting to bring up the shadows, I'm glad you didn't. To me, that would have detracted from the beauty of the sunrise, which it the main focus.
    So glad your recovery is progressing well.

  • Comment Link John DiGiacomo Monday, 03 December 2018 05:03 posted by John DiGiacomo

    You have truly captured the essence of that moment when a new day is about to reveal itself. Even without a camera to capture it, there is something special about starting your day with a view like this.

  • Comment Link Terry Sunday, 02 December 2018 18:42 posted by Terry

    Lover your pictures. You have a real talent. Glad you are recovering from surgery. Take it easy! Let it all heal and follow your surgeons instructions! Looking forward to seeing you after you are well.

  • Comment Link Ann Sanders Sunday, 02 December 2018 14:44 posted by Ann Sanders

    Glad you are doing so well! I had knee replacement and just went on driving trip to North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Got great shots along the way even from a moving car! Enjoyed Road Scholar with you and Bonnie in 2017.

  • Comment Link Barbara Stone Sunday, 02 December 2018 13:57 posted by Barbara Stone

    So glad to hear that you are making progress with your physical challenges. I'm impressed that you are pursuing photographic challenges even as you heal... and maybe that will speed the healing process. Best to you and Bonnie.

  • Comment Link Horace Hamilton Sunday, 02 December 2018 12:10 posted by Horace Hamilton

    Love 'Luftee Overlook for sunrise and your version! I was there this past Monday evening to shoot the snow covered scene at sunset. 13° and 20mph wind made for a rather short visit but it is, nonetheless, one of my favorite spots.

  • Comment Link Donald Newsom Sunday, 02 December 2018 09:58 posted by Donald Newsom

    Breathing deeply again at this one...aaahhh!!!

  • Comment Link Linda Taylor Sunday, 02 December 2018 09:26 posted by Linda Taylor

    Ditto the Wow! Great beauty rewards the early riser. Better than worms. I'll think of this when I'm deciding whether to get up and out our stay warm and snug.

  • Comment Link Ron Belovitz Sunday, 02 December 2018 08:50 posted by Ron Belovitz

    Kind of makes getting up early in the morning worth it. Beautiful image!

  • Comment Link Nancy Tripp Sunday, 02 December 2018 08:46 posted by Nancy Tripp

    Wow! That must have been a humbling experience just witnessing that. It looks like a party in the sky and everybody came. The dark s-shaped cloud on the right looks a little rowdy. It looks like a fun time.

    I hope you are healing quickly; you still have mountains to climb.

  • Comment Link Chris Courter Sunday, 02 December 2018 08:26 posted by Chris Courter

    Wow! Another beautiful image. I really look forward to Sunday mornings so I can see your next shot. I hope your recovery goes well.

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