Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM, Canon EOS 5D, Landscape, Nature

There are enormous fires burning in the mountains near Somerset West. The soot makes for amazing sunrises. I tried capturing the spectacle this morning.

f17 01 04 red sunrise1533.jpg

This was shot through a polarising filter.

Canon 5DmkII & Canon EF24-70mm f/2.8L

1/250 f11 ISO100 (70mm) -2 exp

Warning: Even at sunrise, even through the smoke, the sun is dangerous to your eyes.

It is equally harmful to your camera’s sensor, so be quick and be careful.

Do not look into the sun through the lens, do not try and focus on it; the camera has no way of focusing on such a bright object.

I used these trees on purpose. Not only did they make the picture interesting, they also provided something to focus on. All the pictures were under exposed by two stops.

f17 01 04 red sunrise1532.jpg

Why the halo?

Remember you are looking at miles of soot. The camera captures the sun as an object so bright, it registers as pure white (255 on all three colours). Then it starts looking for other colours. Here I have cropped the one picture and sharpened it – the camera found circles of colour – remember we are essentially looking at smoke here. As the intensity of the sun’s rays disappears, so darkness sets in, creating ever darker circles.

Why red? The longest waves penetrate the smoke first.

f17 01 04 red sunrise1547.jpg

Even the shadows were orange. I shot this as I walked home.

(This one is not under exposed.)


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