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on Mar 18, 2014 in Landscape Photography

The Dawns Early Light

Monument Vly 8879

A long time desire was to be at the sand dunes in front of Totem in Monument Valley for sunrise. This past week we were able to make it happen with the help of my good friend Don, a local guide. At 0643 we arrived at the dunes and the sun was barely a hint in the dawn’s early light. After a little bit of a walk, we reached the edge of the dunes which is what you’re seeing here. Now I have a real set strategy for working dunes I’ll talk about in another post. This one is a real simple post and it’s all about getting getting out early. What you see here is what we saw when we came up on the dune. The sand “glows” with the least amount of light. Shooting with the D4s / 18-35AFS (don’t dare change lenses in the wind on the dunes) in this early, dark light, I was at ISO3200 (really weird place for me to be), 1/15, -1 exp comp, Cloudy WB, handheld loving the glow. Now that glow is elnatural, just like Mother Nature presented to us. Now I really wish I had a D4 to do a side by side because I shot this with the new D4s Matrix Metering – Face Detection. I don’t have the hard proof yet, but I have the gut feeling in these types of lighting conditions, it’s providing a spot meter bias on where the AF sensor is placed. I’ve not sat still enough to come up with a test, this is just my gut feeling and as the photo points out, the D4s did a fine job in this scenario. And with that glow in the foreground, the background was just that. Now, keep in mind it was dark, ISO3200 dark, light not even on Totem yet so the glow is the subject. Not complicated, a simple click that really set the stage for what would become a gorgeous morning started in dawns early light.