Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Saturday at Sunrise

It's been a while since I just went out shooting pictures of random subjects, so I figured I was long overdue. I thought I'd head out around 11AM or so and search for some shots. However, my wife ended up having to work on Saturday, so it turns out I was up quite early. I peaked out the window about 30 minutes before sunrise and was pleased to see a nice, clear sky just waiting for the sun. I took that as my cue, hurried up and got dressed, swiped my bag, and ran out the door. I headed down to Hines Drive...the local county park which follows the river for about 15-20 miles. I started looking for a place to view sunrise. About a 1/2 mile in, I hit the big sledding hill. Its got a nice view...just about tall enough to see the horizon over the trees. My first instinct was to head up there, but then I thought "no...there's nothing much up there to make for an interesting subject against the sunrise", so I kept driving. Looking at several tempting spots along the way, I eventually hit Newburg Lake about 7 miles from home. It was frozen over, covered with a layer of fog, and had a couple of nice potential viewpoints to shoot from. I figured this was it.

Walking down toward the lake, I caught an interesting angle of a lamppost framing the crescent moon, so I took a shot (or three):

I then headed for one of my favorite little shooting hideouts on this lake...a little cement block thats hidden down a hill through some trees, but lets you get out a couple yards into the lake). On my way there, I threw on my P197 filter and captured the pine tree shot I posted yesterday. I then got to my spot and captured a few shots of the sun just starting to come over the horizon. I looked at one of the nearby trees/bushes and realized it's branches were covered by frost, so I fired off a couple of different shots against the sunrise

Next I went looking for some other subject but ran across another branch that I though looked pretty with the sun back lighting it, giving it that glowing frost look:

Going a bit further, I thought I'd take a few shots looking up the road towards the sun. It ended up being a bit difficult, as I was getting some nasty glare. I couldn't compose the scene exactly how I wanted, but I saw a jogger coming along and captured this one:

Next I jumped back in the car and started heading back towards home, hitting a few of the other locations I had scouted out. I liked the look of this little frozen over drainage ditch as it reflected the sun.

Lastly, I hit the sledding hill that I originally rejected. With the sun now up, but a few clouds rolling in, I looked around and captured this shot looking up the walkway.

At this point, I got a little brave. I had an idea in my mind...a time lapsed exposure sledding down the hill. I knew there was a small risk I could wipe out and cause some serious damage, so I put everything in the car except for my camera with the cheap kit lens and my 3 stop ND filter. I found a half broken sled which some kid had abandoned. I dragged it to the top of the hill. Now, I was planning on going down the gentle side of the hill...the one all of the littlest kids use. I figured I wouldn't quite get going that fast, so I thought an exposure of about 4 seconds should do it. So I set up the proper exposure (and ran a test shot to verify). I then kicked off down the hill. Before I knew it, I was really picking up speed. I fired off 3 shots, but unfortunately I was going so fast and it was getting quite bumpy, and the shots came out as complete blurs. Not the effect I was looking for. I was now picking up even more speed and becoming really worried about rolling the sled and breaking the camera, so I did my best to gently extend my boots and slow the sled just a bit. I made it to the bottom safe and sound, camera fully intact (though covered with a dusting of snow), but the pictures weren't quite what I wanted. However, I wasn't about to press my luck, so I headed home.

After downloading my shots, a few hours later it was looking really nice again. The clouds were gone, and the sun was shining brightly, so I headed back out again. This time I headed the opposite direction. Found a spot, parked, walked around for about an hour, and captured the following 3 shots in the process:

I then headed home...this time for good. It felt great to just get out there for some pure fun once again.

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