"Fire Beyond the Mountain" - How I got the shot

Background

It was a cold, wet Saturday morning, and I was heading to the beach at Pagua Bay in order to capture a few sunrise images. It must have been around 5:30am and I was late. I was speeding and don’t even know how I saw it…

I came up on this scene by chance. It was one of those scenes that forced to me to stop, get out of the vehicle and stare in wonder.

The light was not to be ignored!

The Vision

When I first encountered this scene, I knew that I needed to capture the sunrise as it interacted with the fog. But as usual, timing would be key. Too early and the fog would overpower the light, extinguishing the bright orange colors; too late and the sunlight would wash over the landscape, chasing away all color and contrast.

My attempts on that first morning all failed to create the image I envisioned. I was not surprised, nor disappointed. Encountering the scene in this way makes for rushed shooting against the clock.

However, I was determined to realize my vision, so I came right back to the same location the next morning.

Getting the shot

Sunday morning was just as cold and even wetter than the previous day. I got there earlier though, and waited patiently for the sun’s light to peep over the mountaintop.

By the time light became visible, I had already positioned myself and acquired a composition I favored. I chose to use the trees to frame the shot.

This would guide the viewer’s eyes to the center of the image, and I hoped that the colored light would add just enough ‘pop’ to keep them looking for a few more seconds… imagining themselves at the scene, watching the sun come over the mountain.

I waited until there was a perfect balance between fog and light, and captured a few frames for editing later.

Final thoughts

Images like this one represent one of the difficulties common in landscape photography - patience. Patience to return to the scene another day and patience to wait for the light to be just right.

It would be so easy to say, “I’ll take what I get on this first trip.” However, the resulting image after a second or third visit is always worth the wait!

Fire Beyond the Mountain by Yuri A Jones

© 2017 Yuri A Jones | Fire Beyond the Mountain, captured at Penrice, Dominica (available as a canvas print here.)

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