At times it can be quite hard to imagine how a sunrise or sunset might turn out. Experience helps, it gives you a good indicator of what to look for in the sky when you are planing for a shoot. But even then you can be taken aback by how it turns out. Every twilight is in a sense unique even if it they do have similarities where by you can recognize patterns which will help in determining how the specific days twilight-time will be. Sunrise complicates things just a bit though. The thing being that for one, you are probably sleeping and thus not looking at the cloud formation. Secondly if you where to go outside it would be hard to see the clouds seeing as it is dark outside.
You are then left to rely upon what the weather forecast tells you and from my experience the forecast does quite a good job of presenting correct conditions for the next 12-24 hours. Meaning that I can look at the weather forecast before I go to sleep and make a decision at that time if I am even going to bother going up early. If the conditions are looking good, then I set the alarm for when I need to wake up. When the clock rings I check the weather forecast again to confirm that it is still looking good. If it is so, then I go up and make my way to the location.
On the way to the location, depending on how early I am, I start to get a sense of what kind of sunrise it is going to be and start to form a concept of what to expect. Arriving at the location means starting to look for a composition that will incorporate the plans I have for the shoot.
After all this planing I often find that when the action actually starts happening. Usually it does not follow my expectations at all. Seeing as I cannot control the light I am gonna have to adapt to the situation. So reassessing the situation, where is the light coming from, what kind of light is it, what color is it, are there any reflections, what do I want to show in this picture. Then I recompose for the situation and forget about my earlier expectations, now it is constant shooting for about 30-60 minutes depending on how fast the sunrise is on this particular morning.
After that hour of astonishing beauty or disappointment (if the the light never came) I pack up my things and head pack home.
As usual I shoot bracketed so that I get three exposures 0, +2 and -2. Then I have shots with no out-blown parts and shots with detail in the dark without noise. Then I blend them using Photoshop CC, after an initial edit in Lightroom where I fix the exposures to the right point. You can see the final result below.
Next week I will continue this blog and explain why all the planing and expectations before a shoot is not in vain.