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Dawn Sky at Big Sur

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 29 March 2009 in Landscape & Rural.

Most people think of Big Sur as a late-afternoon/sunset location and for good reasons. First, it is the left coast and sunsets are a natural; but perhaps as important is the fact that the Santa Lucia Range borders the coastline with peaks topping out at over 5,000 feet! That's a lot of topography for light rays to bend around at first light of the day. Throw in the fact that one's view is blocked to the east and it really is a guess.

Having said all that, I am more and more convinced that Big Sur does offer many morning treats if one knows where to seek them out. I won't divulge them on this blog, but I do have an e-book that mentions them (see below).

This particular location is in the book (complete with directions and mile markings) and is a favorite of mine. This image was captured on the last morning of my Big Sur workshop as we arrived in near darkness. It was a real treat to watch the sky come to life for the next 40 minutes. As a bonus, we had a crescent moon hanging in the sky! I picked this image (though there were other worthy candidates) because of the warm hues striking the clouds. I used a Singh-Ray 3-stop split grad to hold back the sky and allow the foreground to open. I also used a B+W circular polarizer to bring out the color.

I will be offering another Big Sur workshop in late August. If you would like to join me and co-instructor Gary Hart, please visit my website and click on the Workshop tab. If you e-mail me, I will send you more information.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 8/5 seconds F/16.0 ISO 200 25 mm

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