You ever take a photo, look at it in-camera, and think “Damn, that’s a keeper!”?? Well, I did. With this guy. Little did I know how difficult the journey of this edit would be.
There are some moments, some memories, which will always be branded into my brain. This sunrise, taken in Joshua Tree National Park is one of them. Watching the sun light pour over the desert was magical. We had decided to make our way to Keys View so that we could watch the sky turn over the Salton Sea, but as we made our way through the desert, we saw this and pulled over. I had to have a photo.
After a few snaps, our little photo party (David, Beth, Monica and I) made our way to the outlook and enjoyed a spectacular sunrise. I am grateful we all agreed to the early morning wake up call, it was definitely worth the effort.
Now…..as for this edit….it was a beast. The longest exposure shifted slightly, so the fine needles of the tree were difficult to line up/keep sharp. In retrospect, I also would have done some more mid-exposures. I believe these were -3, 0, 3. I should have taken some -2 and 2 as well. Also, the color cast was not what I remembered and the only way to correct the foreground was to lighten the overall exposure, making it much brighter than the dim pre-dawn I actually remember. Again, in retrospect, I probably would have tried some light painting. At the time, it was rush-rush-rush to get a few shots before driving up to Keys…but if I had known it might have saved me a years worth of edits and re-edits, research and input from a few of my photo-peers…I would have found a few minutes to try it.
That all being said, despite this not being what I envisioned when I took the shot, I still enjoy the image. As I said, that sunrise was incredible and I’m grateful to have this image to remember it by.