christopherpayne
christopherpayne

The Glowing Cactus



Just after sunrise at Joshua Tree National Park

Just after sunrise at Joshua Tree National Park
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5 Comments | Report
yanec29
 
yanec29 May 15, 2016
Wonderful
murphey PRO+
 
murphey May 15, 2016
So Amazing !
Ainnion
 
Ainnion February 26, 2017
I love it!
richardpowlesbrown
 
richardpowlesbrown July 03, 2018
Great sunstars
adiestiano PRO
 
adiestiano December 29, 2020
Cool

Behind The Lens

Location
I took this in the northern end of the Joshua Tree National Park, in California.
Time
This was just after sunrise.
Lighting
The window of opportunity for that good pre-dawn blue hour into that post-sunrise golden hour is pretty slim. After the sun rises, that beautiiful golden light will be gone before you know it. My best advise is to decide to get up early. Once you decide on when to get up, based on travel and setup time...THEN set your alarm back another 30 minutes to account for...well....ANYTHING that might come up. Years later you won't be missing that extra 30 minutes of sleep, but you can never go back and get that shot again on that beautiful morning where you didn't plan to get there early enough for the best lighting.
Equipment
This was taken with my Canon 5D Mark III, and the Canon f/2.8 L II 16-35mm lens, and a human tripod (meaning I was laying down sideways in the dirt, to get this...trying to keep VERY still)
Inspiration
I have my Father to thank for this one. He is also a photographer, and was with me on this trip. I was busy getting the larger landscape sunrise shots, when he reminded me to look closer at the different plants around me...especially the cactus. The cactus was the perfect subject for this back-lit shot, as the glow around the branches and all the needles was absolutely beautiful, especially with the sun itself peeking through the branches.
Editing
I took 5 bracketed shots on this, and used just a very light HDR effect, so that we could see some of the detail on the dark side of the cactus, and to make sure the sky was nice and blue in contrast to the yellow lighting.
In my camera bag
I almost always carry my Canon 5D Mark III, Canon f/2.8 L II 16-35mm lens, Canon f/4 L 24-105mm lens, Canon f/1.8 50mm, and Sigma f/4.5 ex 500mm, along with my manfrotto tripod, and lots of batteries, a few chargers, and lots of CF/SD cards. Oh....and...learn from my mistake. Never find yourself in the beautiful city of Denver, Colorado with a VERY narrow window of opportunity between scheduled events, and not have your lens cleaner pen thingy!
Feedback
Take many shots. You have that nice large 800,0000,000gb card....use it! I took probably 10-12 different shots of this cactus...some with the sun completely blocked by the cactus, and others with varying degrees of the sun showing through. You have probably noticed by now that many times you go away knowing which shot was "the shot", and you get home later only to find that another shot totally blows it away. We are seeing in 3 dimensions when we are shooting but, of course, the photo turns out in 2 dimensions. Try to teach yourself to see in 2 dimensions as you're taking your photos. That bush that your eye can see was very far away,, will often times look like it is growing out of the side of the subject of your photo. Also, don't forget to take shots with varying F stop values, so that you get varying depths of field to choose from later. Always have your lens cleaner pen thingy!

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