Leave the room by 4:15 AM!
So this Photo was taken on September 8th, 2012 in the Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada. I was staying in Las Vegas at Ceasers Palace for a conference and had at least a half day before I had to attend meetings. So I set the alarm for 4:00am that Saturday having prepared the night before so I could head out by 4:15am for the Valley of Fire. I use the Photographers Ephemeris application on my Galaxy Nexus which shows you the exact Sun and Moon schedules for anywhere you are. I was the only one there when I arrived about one and a half hours later. I had to scope out the park very quickly because the glow of light was already getting a small start. This image was taken only about 20 yards from the main drive that cuts through the park. I had enough time to set up the tripod and start clicking. This exact image was snapped at 6:22AM. The first ones I took started just a few minutes before this and you can see the changes to the light quite dramatically in just a 5 to 10 minute time period. The red color of the ground as well as the rock formations in this park are amazing, thus the name Valley of Fire. Getting there even 15 minutes later would have missed that magical time.
For the photographers, this was taken with the Canon 5D M3 and the EF16-35mm lens set at 31mm, f/9.0 and ISO of 320. This image was originally three separate bracketed exposures and then combined using Photomatix Pro and then Stylized in Photoshop using Topaz Adjust and finished in Lightroom 4. The HDR process enables proper exposure of the rising sun while still having good details of the desert scene. I also have a super wide panoramic from the same spot that is actually 11 vertical shots stitched together that came out quite well; but that makes for a mighty wide high resolution image.
Keywords: Desert, Early, Las Vegas, Morning, Photography at dawn, Red Rocks, Southwest USA, State Park, Sunrise, Travel, Up Early, Valley of Fire
I told you that you are an amazing photographer and even more amazing is to get up at 4:15 and drive to the desert. It is beautiful there. This is a wonder shot and thanks for sharing your settings.
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