Monday, February 1, 2010

Sunrise and Morning Mountain Light

Last Tuesday morning, I got up before sunrise, looked outside and saw potential in the sky, and headed out with my gear.  Thus far, all the sunrise photos I've taken have been snapshots taken from the courtyard of the hotel, sometimes taken while I'm wearing slippers and PJ's.  Those will make useful reference material for paintings.  But, getting the "bigger picture", as it were, required a drive. 

I'd previously cased out the top of a residential hillside in neighboring Warren, so I went there first.  That provided me with a few beautiful sky photos before the light changed.  I decided to continue down the road south towards the airport.  By that time, the potential for sunrise sky photos was well over, but I thought I'd probably get some good morning shadows across the Mules, Hauchucas and the Naco mountain, and I was right.

Normally, I keep PPP (post-production processing) to a minimum in PS Elements.  I adjust levels and occasionally apply filters to bring the photo colors and saturation back as close as I can to what I witnessed live at the location.  I also have to remove artifacts that show up from my camera sensor.  And, I sometimes crop the image to improve the composition.  In two of the photos, however, I found that there were some distracting elements that I simply could not get around having in the photos:  telephone lines and wires.  And a few stray branches from foreground mesquite shrubs.  So, for the sake of aesthetics, those have been removed. 

Sunrise from Warren
These altocumulus clouds take on a rosy pink glow from the rising sun.  Distal hills and ocotillo canes add ground contrast.
Morning Colors
This wide-angle shot shows the oranges and yellows from the distal cirrus clouds catching the morning glow of the sun
Mule Mountain Morning
The shadows cast on the Mules form a series of abstract shapes, while the warm orange from the desert shrubs contrasts with the muted greys of the sky.
Early Morning in Naco
The mountain behind Naco offers some more complex shadows from the Mules to the north, including those from the snow along its north face.

Huachucas in a Different Light
Normally seen in silhouette form in late afternoon or sunset photos I've taken, the Huachucas show off their eastern face in the morning sun.  The dark clouds (altostratus) change the mood of this image.

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