Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah, USA by Rick Coleman

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It was a beautiful sunrise on a cold March morning at Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah. I was there with a small group of photographers (led by the great Fuji X-Photographer Mr. Bill Fortney) and we had just finished capturing the first light on the canyon walls. After that, several of us wandered over to photograph this tree. I waited while everyone else shot the tree from the other side with the early morning light shining from behind them. I chose, however, to shoot into the rising sun. I enjoy looking for opportunities to photograph a subject from a different angle or in a different manner than what might seem the most obvious at first.

I remember the light was so bright that I could hardly see to frame and compose the shot. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to manage the extended dynamic range of both the rising sun and the shadowy side of the tree to successfully make the shot. I thought the tree might remain in full silhouette, but I shot in raw format and I was able to bring out the shadow details on the tree trunk during post processing in just a single image. I had taken multiple shots at different exposures and could have done some exposure blending or even HDR processing, but I prefer this result from a single image as it seems to me to be more representative of what I remember seeing that morning. I really like the result as the lone tree stands strong in the bright sunshine alone in the desolate canyon lands.

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