As Brent noted in his post on this subject, we spent some time at Fords Pond one morning last week while the lake mist was still lifting. If you look at the images in the two posts, I believe you’ll find a noticeable difference in overall tone and mood. This is the first of three images taken ten minutes apart, the rising sun playing an obviously increasing role in the lighting.

The principal differences between his images and mine come from our individual artistic perspectives. In morning scenes, I look for overall mood rather than honing in on a specific element. All these shots were taken with the 18-105mm AF-S Nikkor lens on my Nikon D-40, using a circular polarizing filter.  I set the white balance to Auto, probably accounting for some of the coolness of the image. The first image was shot at f/8 at 1/800.

I favor coolness in these morning shots because I feel that it conveys the overall tone of any morning: the coolest part of the day, no matter how far the temperature rises. It is probably more somber-looking this way; that’s not a “statement” of any kind — maybe just a reflection of the feeling of the moment.

In the second image, taken six minutes after the first, the sky has brightened, but the coolness remains. This shot is also at f/8, but the shutter speed is up to 1/1250. I liked the foreground reeds as a means of introducing depth to the composition.

The final image, taken three minutes after the second, is my favorite. The lighting is coming up, there is a greater abundance of water and sky in the composition, and although the tone is obviously warmer, it’s still cool overall. To me, it exemplifies the spirit of morning in summer: it’s pleasant, but with a hint of the heat to come. The shutter speed is now up to 1/2000, still at f/8.

In post on all of these images, I did add a curves layer set to Luminosity. As Brent noted, I emphasize the lack of light, which can naturally lead to some fairly flat lighting. The enhancing curve bumped up the contrast a bit, but it still remains muted in comparison to his images.

Is one approach better, or preferable? That choice remains with the viewer. We all paint a canvas more with feelings than tools at most times — particularly as the day emerges out of the fog.

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