The best way of testing our photography skills is definitely shooting the sunrise or blue hour…Blue hour is the time directly before sunrise & directly after sunset. Why would it be good for testing photography skills? It’s early in the morning and there’s little light when it comes to blue hour; personally, I’m beginning to like shooting at the tail end of blue hour when it’s almost sunrise because you end up getting the best of both times mixing together. The worst part of it is getting up early and going to the site ahead of time in the dark; doing just that, shooting at blue hour, in the winter, makes it even colder. The benefit of this is that there are few people out for this time of day while the colors are just beginning to show for sunrise; when I tried this recently, I only noticed just under a handful of people out for this time of day, and only one was taking photographs…He waited for the sun to fully come over the trees.
Working with a scene like this, I decided to let the trees go black and the geese in the water go dark as well just so that I could capture the approaching sunrise while staying handheld. A HDR (High Dynamic Range) image would’ve worked really well here, but it would’ve taken away from the feel of the scene, in my opinion. The adjustments that I made were simple & not too drastic, typical for me; I stuck with minor clarity, global & localized saturation, slight contrast and some luminance noise tweaking…There was a slight exposure increase (+0.2) as well. I was aiming for a simpler, pre-sunrise look that wouldn’t betray the sense of anticipation for the sun to fully rise over the trees. While didn’t bother tinkering with the colors in the color panel of Lightroom, I don’t think I needed to; sure, I could’ve made the sky more bluish, but that would’ve betrayed the changing light & the feel of the scene.
It all comes down to, in these times of day, is the feel, emotion, & mood of the scene in front of us; to be sure, what I’m trying to say is that we react to what is in front of us at the moment we first see it, how we see it, and the moment of capture. I may never be perfect in doing this myself and I don’t really think I will be, but I know that, in this world that’s so messed up, there are still glimpses of something more and we’ve got to strive to get out there, get inspired, and try to show meaning in what we do so that we can inspire others…Maybe, just maybe, we might just be able to take a stand and show that there’s more than just the superficial, self-serving crap that society throws at us.