Last night was a little ugly for photography. It was cold. It was windy. I was preoccupied with taking my little guys to Mandan to light a few dollars’ worth of fireworks, then bringing them home for story time with Rush Revere. I checked the weather on and off through the night, but the wind and cold kept me indoors. That’s okay; I had another plan, anyway.
One problem I had right off the bat when doing photos of the capitol with the windows lit was the dark surroundings; the lit windows looked like dots floating in the dark. I realized that I needed a brighter background if I wanted the photo to look better, so I started chasing my capitol photos just before dawn.
Showing up a little before dawn gives one the flexibility to let the light you want come to you. It’s a delicate balance between having things too dark and too bright, because you want the “2015” to stand out.
Of course, it’s half part luck. If this morning had been sunny, I’d have been sunk. The cloudy sky, however, diffused the waxing light of the sunrise just enough to give me what I needed. The snow and capitol were lit, as was the sky in the background, but not enough to blow out the numbers in the windows.
It’s a just-perfect set of circumstances that will allow you to get a shot like this, where it looks like daylight but the windows are still visible. I didn’t do any Photoshop or Lightroom trickery to make any of these shots happen. It’s all by trying to glean an understanding of the light, being in the right place at the right time, and having the good fortune of the weather conditions required. I was out of bed, done with my photos, and back home before my first bleary-eyed little boy wandered out of his bedroom to say good morning to Daddy.
Happy New Year!