Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

The Twin Jewels Project: Pastel Morning

Today, I thought I would post another image that I am considering for inclusion in my "Twin Jewels Project". There is also a quick story that goes along with this one. I have off one Friday every six weeks and on that day I try to get out to photograph since I am usually devoid of responsibilities, at least for the early morning.

This particular image, entitled 'Pastel Morning', was taken on one of those Fridays. This particular morning sticks in my mind because it was a morning on which I decided I would get up early enough to try to shoot sunrise at one of the "Twin Jewel" parks. That was a little unusual for me. While I usually do get up early on the mornings I go out to photograph, the park is about an hour's drive away, so while I usually get there early enough to have a couple of hours to photograph in nice morning light, I am rarely there early enough to actually photograph sunrise.

After hauling myself out of bed, I found myself wondering if I was crazy to get up so early to catch sunrise on my day off. I wasn't quite sure where to go for a good view and was thinking that, in general, Western Pennsylvania does not even have particularly grand sunrises and sunsets because the very hilly terrain tends to block the lower horizon in many areas. The fact that it was quite cold outside just made matters even worse since, as I have mentioned before, cold weather and I are not the greatest of friends.

Back to the photograph in a minute, but to complete the story, very shortly after capturing the image and having experienced an unexpectedly majestic sunrise, I received a call on my cell phone from one of my partners who needed to get some information about a patient from me. He had expected to have awakened me at home, and when he heard where I was and what I was doing thought I was completely crazy. I had been wondering the same thing myself earlier, but, by this time, I had already experienced the magnificent sunrise and in my mind it was clear to me that the crazy thing would have been to have been anywhere else but this particular spot on that particular morning.

"Pastel Morning"
Copyright Howard Grill

Back to the photograph. I decided to photograph sunrise over the lake in the park. Of course, I wasn't quite sure where over the lake the sun would rise ( I guess you could call that ill prepared, but that is one of those things that I just never seem to be able to figure out....can anyone tell me how to do so reliably?) so I just got into position pointing generally east, according to my car compass.

As I mentioned, I wasn't prepared for anything spectacular. While it was still fairly dark, I picked out an area across the lake that I thought had the most interesting graphic appearance I could see. I liked the way the mountains seemed to cross the flatter foreground at an angle.

As sunrise approached, the sky started to glow completely orange! I had never seen coloration so intense in this area before. As it got brighter, the open sky stayed orange and the cloudy areas became an unusual pastel blue color. It was most definitely worth getting out of bed and into the cold.

I remember thinking that one of the great things about nature photography is the surprise of never knowing ahead of time what you are going to see and be able to photograph. The mornings when one gets up early and nothing materializes just serve to intensify the incredible feeling you get when you are 'out there' and this sort of scene plays out. I do realize that other areas of the country have much grander sunrises and landscapes in which to portray them, but, for the area I am trying to portray in my project, it simply doesn't get any better than this.

The final image is cropped a bit from the original frame. It struck me that the pink and blue bands were very linear graphic elements of the image and that even the green tree lined land areas seem to fit in as a linear band. I cropped a bit from the top and bottom of the image until the width of the bands of color seemed to complement each other just right to me.

After sitting through the sunrise, I was not only amazed by how quickly the light got more and more intense, but also by how it faded just as rapidly. It was all over within 30 minutes, at the most. I had to snap a picture afterwards as a great example of how important it is to be at a location at the right time and just how quickly the light and mood can change. So here is 'Pastel Morning Plus Thirty Minutes". Don't be late!

"Pastel Morning Plus Thirty Minutes"
Copyright Howard Grill