Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sunrise over Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas

One thing about photographing sunrise here in far north Queensland is that it's usually cloudy. Actually to be more precise, there's usually a big bank of clouds right in front of the sun.

The rest of the sky can be totally clear and there'll be a great big cloud right in front blocking the sun coming through. Or maybe that's only on the days when I get up early!

Either which way it completely changes the way you want to photograph at this time of the day. When the sun is nice and clear and shining beautiful light on the beach where I'm standing (and it's usually a beach - what can I say!) then I often reach for the wide-angle lens.

But when it's cloudy like this then usually the area where I'm standing is just really ordinary. There's no golden light, no nice long shadows. Just plain ol' ugly, boring light.

And that's when I reach for the telephoto lens - the longer the better. Because often all the action is happening way out on the horizon. Even if the sun is hidden behind the clouds you often find it sending shafts of light down over the water. Lots of beautiful light in the sky, just none close to where I'm standing. And because of the huge range of contrast between the sky and the ocean, it often turns a really dark shade - almost black - allowing you to create some really graphic compositions.

So if you're up this way on holiday and disappointed because it's a cloudy sunrise - consider it par for the course and reach for the telephoto lens.

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