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Waiting for sunrise



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On top of the Lilienstein rock at the Saxon Switzerland area, Germany

On top of the Lilienstein rock at the Saxon Switzerland area, Germany
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2 Comments |
p_eileenbaltz Platinum
 
p_eileenbaltz January 23, 2017
Breathtaking image! Voted in 'people in large areas' contest.
MRueffer PRO+
 
MRueffer February 01, 2023
Great photo!!
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Behind The Lens

Location

The photo was taken on the Lilienstein, a table mountain located in the "Saxon Switherland" area in southeastern Germany. It is a very beautiful and photogenic landscape (basically the german equivalent of Monument Valley and Bryce canyon). I was already in that region a few years ago with some fellow members of a photo forum. This shot was taken on my second visit. As the best and most spectacular landscape shots are done at sunrise, I had to climb the mountain in then night (with headlamp and flasnhlights). I was not familiar with the best vista points (depending on the weather and the time of the year), so I asked in a photo forum if there was any local who would like to join me on such a tour. I was lucky to find a guy who was willing to take a morning climb with a total stranger. The picture shows him while we were waiting for sunrise.

Time

The shot was taken at about 5:30 am on March 30th 2014. Originally we planned to go to another vista point, but as we got quite some fog in the night (you see the it in the valley of the river Elbe in the picture), my local "guide" decided to try the Lilienstein instead. As this location was nearer to our meeting point and had a shorter walk / climb, we ended up at our target spot quite some time before sunrise. At that time of the night, and on such an exposed spot, it was quite windy and cold. We were on a rock pleateau of abut 15x15 sq feet with the walls going down vertically maybe 60 feet. So we had to be careful where to go to get the blood circulation ongoing.

Lighting

The sun wasn't yet above the horizon, so we just got some gentle light, just enough to separete the silhoutte from the background. As he stould still, I could use a 13th of a second and combined with an aperture of f6.3 to get everything sharp.

Equipment

I used an Olympus E-M1 with the 12-40/2.8 which I mounted on a Gitzo GT3541LS tripod. (The tripod is extremely stable and a bit of overkill for this camera combination. I still had it from the time when I used a Nikon FX camera setup with much larger lenses.)

Inspiration

When my co-photographer walked on that spot (basically to move around to get warmer while we were waiting for sunrise), the view reminded me very much of the famous painting "Wanderer above the Sea of Fog" from Caspar David Friedrich. So I quickly repositioned my camera and took this spontenaous snapshot.

Editing

The image is almost straight out-of-camera, only a little bit of level adaptions to get a bit more structure in the rock formation, and some sharpening.

In my camera bag

Until a few years ago, I had a Nikon DSLR setup. As love different lenses, the equipment ended up to be quite heavy, so I changed to the micro four thirds system. The picture quality is now "good enough" (at least in most cases) for my taste and my camera bag (or backpack) is now much lighter. Currently, I have an Olympus E-M1. Most often, I use the Olympus 12-40mm/2.8, but when I travel light, I might just go with the Panasonic 20mm/1.7 and Olympus 45mm/1.8. If I need more reach, I either use the Olympus 50-200mm/2.8-3.5 (via adapter) or the Panasonic 45-175mm/4.0-5.6. I often have the Olympus 8mm/1.8 Fisheye or the 60mm/2.8 macro in my bag. That's the nice thing about the m43 system: Most lenses are so small and light, you can just take them with you...

Feedback

To get a great shot in great morning light, you have to go to the right location rather early. In order to get there safely, you'll either have to find someone who knows the way or you should scout beforehand in daylight. But going there with a fellow photographer is nicer anyways: You have a backup if anithing goes wrong, and someone to kill time while waiting. And always keep your eyes open for any unexpected opportunities. I didn't come to this location with that picture explicitely in my mind, but when the situation occurred, I took the opportunity.

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