Tip #57: Reset Your Settings

April 13, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I don't know how many times I have done this but it is more than I should and enough that I shouldn't still do it on occasion. I am talking about shooting at night or shooting a landscape and then forgetting to update to the proper settings for my next shoot.
 

Dream_Lake_sunrise_1Dream_Lake_sunrise_1Clouds light up in orange and pink hues at sunset above Dream Lake and Hallett Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado Here's an example. One summer I went to Rocky Mountain National Park to photograph the Milky Way and nightscapes. I was out until maybe 1 a.m. when I finally went to the campground for a few hours of sleep. I had plans to get up early to hike up to Dream Lake before sunrise to capture the first rays of light on Hallett Peak.
 

This is a frequently photographed location but clearing clouds and a calm lake for reflections can be a rare event. I was thrilled when I arrived at the lake in plenty of time to set up before sunrise to see perfect clouds above Hallett Peak and a perfect reflection in the calm waters of Dream Lake.
 

 I picked a spot, set up my tripod and waited for one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen in Colorado. The pink tones of the first rays of light filled the peak with color and the clouds turned into stunning shades of purple.
 

Fifteen minutes AFTER sunrise, just as the clouds started to lose their best light, I realized I was still shooting at the high ISO I use for night skies - ISO 1600.
Dream_Lake_sunrise_3Dream_Lake_sunrise_3Early morning light illuminates Hallett Peak above Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Par, Colorado

I quickly changed to a more appropriate ISO setting - ISO 100 - but the moment was lost.
 

This image of Dream Lake is still a favorite of mine but more because it brings out the memory of that beautiful morning. The image unfortunately  loses some of its sharpness as I reduce the noise from shooting it at an ISO of 1600.
 

I will be sure to hike up many more times to Dream Lake for sunrise but next time I will definitely make sure I am set up properly for landscape photos. (And maybe a little more sleep to help me think clearly!)
 


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