It was a few weeks into autumn in the West Virginia Highlands where I live when I decided to go to a local spot and catch a sunrise on a whim and at the last minute. I had not looked at the weather like I usually do when planning an outing like this, so I was going in completely blind. On my way down to the stream, I notice the leaves are at their peak. Awesome! I didn't know it at the time, but it was a good omen if you believe that kind of thing. I get to the spot at around 7:00 AM at the beginning of Twilight. I love this time of day. I get out of my car, unhook my tripod from my backpack, and get out my camera to start shooting. I keep my wide-angle lens on the camera 99% of the time, so it was already set up and ready to go. The location is just a bridge over Shavers Fork (of the Cheat River), maybe 20 minutes by vehicle outside Elkins, WV, USA, where I call home. It's one of those rare spots in my area to which I can drive my little Honda and not need a truck or something with a 4-wheel drive. The bridge is concrete, heavily covered in graffiti and is only wide enough for one vehicle, one photographer, and one extended tripod simultaneously.
So I get to my spot on the bridge, and... would you look at all that fog! It was everywhere! I had never seen such dense thickets of fog in person before, and with the addition of the classic blue hour blues, it was an amazing sight. I took so many photos that morning, and I was all over the place, going from shooting upstream to downstream, in the field nearby, back to the bridge, etc. etc.; I initially tried the long exposures with it being dark and all. Then once the sun came out, I switched to shorter exposures and bracketing. This photo was taken during the long exposure period of shooting that morning.
My camera is not the greatest and has pretty horrible low-light capabilities, so I had to be careful and get the exposure just right. Looking at my histograms, I finally came up with the best settings I could find and adapted and updated them with the ever-changing light. I try to stay around f/8 - f/16 depending on the situation, so with it being dark and all, I opted for a somewhat wider aperture at f/11. The longest exposure I could manage without any filters and without clipping the highlights was 25sec, so I went with it. I chose to aim for the longest (and brightest) exposure because, again, of my camera's horrible low light capabilities and the fact that if I underexposed too much, there would be too much noise.
The sun rose at 7:25 AM, but I didn't see any real light until I took this photo at 7:35 AM. There was just enough sunlight breaking through the fog to give some dynamics to the shot, but it didn't last very long. Sometimes the best shots are taken in the smallest windows of time; it's amazing. For me, it's all about accurately capturing those small moments of natural wonder and sharing my experiences with others. This photo will forever remind me of one of the coolest mornings I've had, not just as a photographer but in all my years as a human.Upload YOUR Picture • WIN $200 Cash
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor