An Austin Sunrise with Some Clouds

Were I Captain Ahab, my white whale would be a beautiful sunrise over downtown Austin. The scene is set every morning and all I need is the sky to cooperate. I am just a calm morning with high clouds away from this magical event. So, I read several weather forecasts trying to predict the appearance of my white whale and all I can do is wait until the conditions look good in the forecast, get up before dawn while the sky is too dark yet to judge, and head downtown.

Saturday’s morning forecast called for a few clouds moving in at dawn and cool temperatures indicating probably low humidity for less scattering of the sunlight coming from beyond the horizon. So, I got up and drove downtown in the dark. I couldn’t really see the sky until I got downtown and I saw some high clouds on the distant horizon, so I thought I had a good chance.

Austin Texas in Morning Twilight
Austin Texas in Morning Twilight

I chose the pedestrian bridge as my perch as I wanted more of the eastern horizon in the shot than I would get from down on the edge of the river/lake. It’s called a lake, but it looks a lot more like a river; mainly because it is the Colorado river that has a low dam on the East end of town.

I moved toward the middle of the bridge to get a look more directly down the river, er lake, directly into the sunrise. At first the lake was smooth as glass, but then the rowers came out one after another cut up the water and blurred up my mirror.

Austin Texas at sunrise
Austin Texas at sunrise

The sky eventually transitioned through an orange and teal stage, but the clouds were very thin and less than spectacular.

Austin Texas at sunrise
Austin Texas at sunrise

Ordinarily I do a lot of HDR merges of sunrises and sunset, but all of the photos today are single image exposures. I didn’t feel like HDR was capturing the mood on this morning and wanted more silhouette in the skyline.

The color, which was mostly to the south, was being reflected by some of the high-rise glass. So I switched to a telephoto and tried to get some close-up colorful shots of the glass. The following was shot at 120mm compared to 14mm above. As usual, it is nearly impossible to get a shot without a construction crane or two.

Austin Buildings in Sunrise Colors
Austin Buildings in Sunrise Colors

The morning progressed and there were so many rowers, I thought that maybe they were re-enacting D-day or something (if D-day had been done with rowing boats).

Lady-Bird-Lake-Rowers

The distant clouds on the horizon caught a faint amount of color and that was about it for sunrise. I just needed a way to drag those clouds over to Austin, and I’d be set.

Downtown Austin Texas at Sunrise
Downtown Austin Texas at Sunrise

Then it was back to the house to drink coffee and edit a few photos.

IMG_2475

Maybe I’ll catch better clouds next time. But I am glad I bothered to get out of bed and go downtown. I enjoyed shooting photos.

Addendum

As discussed in the comments below, I am post two pictures side-by-side. The first one is an HDR merge of photos taken about 7:16AM. The second one is an individual image take at 7:15AM.

Austin at Dawn HDR
Austin at Dawn HDR
Austin Texas at sunrise
Austin Texas at sunrise

The water is smoother and there is a bit less shadow in the buildings in the HDR merge. Other than that, they are quite similar.

29 thoughts on “An Austin Sunrise with Some Clouds

  1. Then next time the Texas legislature convenes for one of its biennial sessions, they should pass a law prohibiting rowers on high-cloud, low-humidity mornings.
    But I think the photos are beautiful even with the ripples in the waters.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha! I disagree, but….you already know that. I just had to point out the coffee cup being that IF i mention coffee in a post I am quickly told its “poison” but Jason mentions it and … I guess its not quite as poisnous if he drinks it. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “Poor Jason!”
        Though I am not totally convinced about that response! But guess I should be, I have such “Caring” people in my life. You are concerned about my health and Colin gets concerned about my “English” , which you do at times as well! Yup, I am lucky. LOL!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. But a close up could show more ripples, but I did like your clever visual story telling. Though now that I know its black coffee …. my taste buds don’t tingle as much. I can’t do black coffee! Cream please!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. The first on is 6 seconds and shot at f/4. I guess I could have closed the aperture up and gotten a longer exposure, but the water was quite calm. After that, they are relatively short exposures of a second or less.

      What I was doing was taking brackets in case I wanted to merge later, but I found that i like the individual exposures better this time. Maybe I can add a comparison of no-HDR vs. HDR.

      Liked by 1 person

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