Dawn Breaks At Bullhead Bay

I like the way the interplay of lighting and composition can seemingly transform the attributes of a scene, particularly in early morning or in the fading light of dusk.

This image comes from Bullhead Bay at Lackawanna State Park, a long-time favorite shooting location for both Brent and me. We have photographed this region of the park in every season and in all kinds of weather (one particular outing where the temperature hovered around zero comes to mind).

This particular shot is from late July. The weather was typical, but the lighting seemed to already suggest something tropical, as though the ensuing day would be blazing hot — although I believe that the ultimate high temperatures for that day in this region were only in the low 80’s.

To capture this tropical look, I shot this scene at f/6.3 with a shutter speed of 1/640 and ISO 200. The white balance was set to Auto and in post, I left the WB at “As Shot,” which gave me a color temperature reading of 6400K and a tint of -6. I increased the blacks value to 9 and the brightness/contrast values to 60 and 34, respectively, both up from the “standard” values in ACR.

Tropical Fords

This shot is at the opposite end of the day at Fords Pond in mid-May of this year. Although I was shooting primarily to capture an image of the planet Venus, this particular shot intrigued me because of the tropical look that resulted from the fading sky light on the water and the associated surface flora. To me, it has the look of a calming down from a tropical day, although again, the temperature for the day had been in the low 80’s. This was well above the normal daily high for this day in our region.

To capture this image, I used a three-second exposure at f/4.5 with an ISO of 400. I boosted the brightness by about 10 points over the standard ACR value, but left the blacks value at the normal 5 setting. My white balance in the camera was Auto and in post, I kept the WB at As Shot.

Two different days, two different times of day, but the effect of the lighting was the same — a suggestion of a tropical locale. While this summer in Northeastern Pennsylvania has certainly had its warmth, it isn’t quite the tropics — at least, not yet.



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