IN THE FIELD: Sunrise In Farm Country

On hot and hazy summer mornings in the farmlands of Pennsylvania, everything seems to move in slow motion.

I got up before dawn one hot and humid morning to photograph the sunrise over a farm a few miles away. Since the camera equipment was indoors overnight in the air conditioning, I took the camera out of the camera bag when I got into my car. I did this to acclimate my equipment to the outside air temperature.

The driving time would be enough for temperatures between the camera, lens and outside air to equalize. The lens and viewfinder surely would have fogged up on site had I not taken this precaution. The air was thick and heavy, and by the time I arrived at my vantage point, I felt like I had just gotten out of the shower and forgot to dry myself off.

I set up the tripod and camera at a snails pace, and then took some meter readings from the sky and the foreground. After averaging the readings, I chose an appropriate aperture and shutter speed to obtain the best exposure for the look I wanted to achieve. Then it was just a matter of waiting for the cloud cover to lift and the sun to rise and bathe the scene in soft morning light.

Then I high-tailed it back into the air conditioning.


  1. May 30, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Beautiful colours..

    • May 30, 2012 at 11:21 am

      Thanks Bulldog it was a hot one that morning!

  2. May 30, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Aww man that is awesome! So much I have to learn

    • May 30, 2012 at 11:25 am

      Thanks T, we are always learning…don’t know how many times I have taken the camera from the camera bag before letting it warm up, pulled of the lens cover and instant fog! DUH.

      • May 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm

        Oh I’ve got stories about foggy lenses for you!!!! Hoo Boy!

  3. May 30, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Wow well all that prep was well worth it DH. This is a fantastic capture..

    • May 30, 2012 at 11:25 am

      Thanks MD, sometimes things have away of working out!

  4. Jo Woolf
    May 30, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Beautiful sunrise, and I can almost feel the heat and humidity! What amazing summer temperatures you must have – not sure if we could even cope!

    • May 30, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Thanks Jo, It’s been pretty “icky” as S says, for about a week now. Temps have been in the high 80’s and the humidity has been up that high also. Thunderstorms at night unfortunately don’t bring much relief. Today it’s only 75 but the humidity is still here and the real feel temp is 90. This happens every year and then it cools off. I sure hope it does soon!

  5. May 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    I applaud you for getting up so early in the morning. I doubt I will be getting sunrise photos until the winter when it rises at a more sensible hour! Your early start, and preparation, all paid off. You can tell that the morning was hot because those colours are so strong. I would normally expect to see those in a sunset. Wonderful photography.

    • May 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      Thanks Kate, it was a tad bit early that morning…the sky that morning held up to the old expression…red skies in the morning, sailors take warning. Red skies at night, sailors delight. Later that day we had some horrendous thunder storms!

  6. May 30, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    David, it looks like you nailed another one. Great shot. I am glad that we don’t have those problems you described. I can’t remember ever having to go through that. Maybe, though, it is because my gear is always in my car and in my garage. But, also, the humidity here is extremely low most of the time.

  7. May 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Thanks Bob, I envy your location and lack of humidity. Sometimes, for example the last five days, it’s been downright thick outside. Honestly it’s hard to breathe…it should clear up in a day or so…hopefully!

  8. May 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    What a beautiful view… I fall in love with this photograph… Thank you dear David, this is great shot. Love, nia

    • May 31, 2012 at 10:06 am

      Thank you Nia, it was a pretty sunrise even though it was really hot. We had huge storms with thunder and lightning later that day!

  9. May 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    That beautiful glow covers everything.Excellent shot and I can remember not being able to breathe in that heavy air when I lived outside Toronto. Good tips on acclimatizing camera-apparently you can buy packettes like the ones inside pill bottles for cameras, too to avoid condensation.

    • May 31, 2012 at 10:09 am

      Thanks Jane, the humidity has lifted today!!! It’s beautiful!! It’s nice to be able to breath again. Those little packets you mention would be a great thing to put in the camera bag!

  10. sarahloub
    May 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Beautiful!! I wouldn’t have thought to take the camera out to acclimatize before shooting! I can do without the humidity–already hot and humid at sunrise?! Ugh. But capturing this beauty might be worth it…

    • June 1, 2012 at 9:13 am

      Thanks Sarah, the humdity lifted yesterday! Ahhhh We’re back to more normal temps. It was 60 degrees, a nice breeze and no humidity when we got up this morning. We get those hot spells every year at this time and they last a week or two and then it cools down.

  11. May 31, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    That’s a beautiful shot! I have a hard time relating to the climate conditions there! Our mornings are still about 40°.

    • June 1, 2012 at 9:15 am

      Thanks Montucky, those heat spells are short lived…thank goodness. I’m not ready for summer yet. We are back to more normal temps now…it’s actually a little chilly.

    • June 1, 2012 at 9:18 am

      40 degrees…We had mornings like that in the beginning of the month and then it would warm to 65 or so. Nice. Miss them!

  12. June 1, 2012 at 7:38 am

    Gorgeous sunrise! I am impressed how well you look after your camera 🙂 I never thought of acclimating my camera 🙂

    • June 1, 2012 at 9:21 am

      Thanks Kristina, around here you kinda have to…camera in air conditioned home, take outside and remove lens cap…INSTANT fog! You have to let it warm up outside for a few minutes and then it will be ok.

  13. thoughtsfromanamericanwoman
    June 4, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    The southern part of PA is indeed one of the most beautiful spots of PA. Great picture. ~Patty

  14. June 5, 2012 at 6:20 am

    I like it! The heat really does present its own set of problems for photography doesn’t it?

    • June 5, 2012 at 8:42 am

      Yes at times it sure does…for the equipment and the person operating it!

  15. June 5, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Hi Patty, it sure is pretty in these parts, although the rest of Pa is not to be missed either. Thanks for stopping by and thank you to your son for doing what he does. Our prayers are with all those who serve.

  16. Nandini
    June 6, 2012 at 5:23 am

    Wow, so red. Lovely sunrise, indeed. 🙂

  17. June 6, 2012 at 9:04 am

    It was lovely in the morning and the color lasted far longer than I expected! But the weather turned pretty ugly in the afternoon. I think we got two inches of rain in an hour along with thunder and lightning!

  18. June 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Nice warm, hazy shot! I like it. Where in PA is this? I used to live in Pittsburgh.

  19. June 7, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Thanks Fergie, This shot was taken on the other side of the state in Southeastern Pa between Reading and Lancaster.

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