Getting the Shot – Sunrise

A few weekends ago, I had to go down to Jacksonville, Fl to visit family.  Even though I wasn’t feeling great, I’ve made it a goal to bring my camera with me everywhere. 

I didn’t have any specific plans of what to shoot, but I knew I needed to get to the beach.  In the full 18 years that I had lived by the beach, I had never gotten up to specifically just shoot the sunrise.  It was always a side thought during a maternity, family, or swim shoot.  So this time, I decided to make the sunrise the star. 

I decided to stick by the pier since the beach can be a pretty flat landscape to shoot and the pier provides shadow and depth. 

It was a very choppy morning, so to get the “milky” smooth water I had to use a neutral density filter.  This is basically like sunglasses for your lens.  I closed it down to the darkest it could go and this allowed the exposure to be around 10 seconds without blowing out highlights or the sun being too bright. 

An example of a neutral density filter.
(This one was my favorite shot.)

I played with a lot of different exposures and with tones in post processing.  If you look at the following two photos, they were taken in the exact same position.  One has longer exposure than the other and in post, I warmed one up to have a more “summer” feel. 

Notice the waves are more prominent due to the faster shutter speed.

The sunset at the beach is probably one of the most photographed things ever, but it doesn’t make it any less beautiful. 

Check out the behind the scenes vlog here.

Also, you can purchase any of these prints by going to my website:


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