Dawn’s Early Light

Friday night there was a fantastic sunset… that I got to observe while driving home from work in heavy traffic as usual. The forecast showed that there might still be some high clouds around at sunrise. So, I figured that it was worth a shot to go downtown and try to get that glorious sunrise over downtown photo.

The air was cool and the sky was so clear that there was almost no light pollution over the city. So, no glorious sunrise full of oranges, pinks, and magentas. Had there been a sunrise, I would have gone to the pedestrian bridge to take in more of the sky, but with it being so calm and clear I went down close to the water’s edge.

Downtown Austin by Morning Twilight
Downtown Austin by Morning Twilight

The library was still lit at this point with Christmas colors. It was green in the above photo, but I took a close shot of it with alternating green and red.

Austin Central Library Christmas Lights
Austin Central Library Christmas Lights

I spent a bit of time in Lightroom with a color range mask trying to make those greens and reds pop like they did to the human eye. This was a 4 second exposure; any longer and the lights would change.

Below, I have an HDR merge shot really wide at 14mm. I really like the way that it turned out, but it took some extra effort to process.

Downtown Austin Reflected in Lady Bird Lake
Downtown Austin Reflected in Lady Bird Lake (HDR)

With my first merge, I left ghosting correction turned off because I was afraid that it would create banding in the sky and this produced a very nice image (95% of which you see above). But without ghosting correction, any lights that move from frame to frame have a weird, um, ghosted effect which I could see immediately near the library (see below).

HDR-Ghosted-Lights
Ghosted Lights in HDR Merge

So, I created another merge with ghosting correction enabled and it fixed the light issue, but it left the banding in the sky that I was worried about (see below).

HDR-Banded-Sky
Banding in Sky in HDR Merge

So, I imported both images as layers into Photoshop and masked out the ghosted lights in the images to show the corrected portion on the image below it. Anyway, all this to get the final HDR images that I flattened and saved to a .TIF so that I could finish editing it in Lightroom. Probably not the cleanest Photoshop job if you look closely, but better.

The construction team across the water decided it was time to turn on the bright work lights and the rowers came out to chop up all the water, so I moved on. The Paramount Theater has a classic looking sign so I decided to try to shoot it from a few angles. Below is the photo that I decided was my best. Looking down Congress Avenue to the State Capitol with Paramount on the left.

Paramount Theater and Texas State Capitol on Congress Avenue
Paramount Theater and Texas State Capitol on Congress Avenue

I had to wait out some traffic and time the lights on the sign. The sun is just coming over the horizon and the capitol building is getting a lot of warm light on its east side.

Texas State Capitol Christmas Tree
Texas State Capitol Christmas Tree

I once again failed to get a cloud show during a sunrise over Austin, but it was nice to get out and shoot. I kept waking up, looking at the clock, and thinking if it was time to leave yet. I did finally get up at around 5:45AM and head out. I love being out so early as it is like a different city this time of the morning. Thanks for reading.

12 thoughts on “Dawn’s Early Light

      1. All politicians have their goofy problems. LBJ’s was all that Vietnam war money.

        There are people who just want to vote for the guy in their party without getting to deeply into it. Cruz got a lot of default votes and won because his base was bigger in Texas. I don’t get his appeal.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s true. They’re all flawed. LBJ would have been much better had it not been for Vietnam.
        Both parties are flawed, also. But lately it seems the Republican party has made a deal with the devil or something. I like some conservative policies, but they’re not really conservative anymore. They’re just for whatever Trump wants. I hope one day they find their soul again, but until then they don’t have my support.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Impressive shots and reading about the work you did to get the shots. Hard to pick a favorite thia time. Enjoyed the red and green colors and the banding was cool!
    Thanks for the effort to get up so early, I would say it paid off. 🙂 Even if you didn’t get rhe sunrise yiu wanted. It will come and I will be glad too when it comes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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