This is one of my favorite Arizona sunrise photographs that I took in the early morning right when the sun came out. To get a shot like this, you are giving yourself the best chance if you are set up before the sun comes out. I was out at 5:30 AM and waited for the first streak of light to bounce off the clouds at around 6:00 AM.
Exposure settings: 1/3 sec, f/8, ISO 100.
In order to get the colors in this photograph like I did, it is necessary to understand the white balance function in your camera. I used the incandescent setting which gave me the mixture of purple, red, and blue to tint the sky. In reality, the sky was fully blue and streaked with a little pink from the first rays of the sun. With the incandescent setting, I was able to transform this otherwise boring photograph into a sky shot with feeling and vibrancy. Also, I increased my exposure compensation to +0.7 so that the sky would brighten up and not be so moody because, after all, this is an early morning shot and I was aiming for a not too dark, not too bright exposure, but something very easy on the eyes. I probably took 5-6 shots before I got what I liked by fiddling with my settings.
Tip of the day: If you have the time to be technical with your camera, imagine the shot and make it happen. Don’t settle for anything less than what you are envisioning.
I composed the cactus on the left to provide a feeling of the land to balance out the majesty and grandeur of the sky. It also gives a distinct symbol that this was taken in the desert.
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