The Third Sunrise

The third and final sunrise of my stay at Torres del Paine was the best of them all. It was another cold and windy morning again, but I didn’t mind that a bit once we got to the site. Our sunrise site for this morning was a rocky overlook across Lago Pehoe from the mountains. The main mountain with two major peaks is call the Paine Massif, I think, and is visible throughout much of the park. I set up in a spot where I hoped I would have some sort of nice foreground at the bottom of the frame and waited for the light to develop.

The lake was not calm enough for a reflection, but I experimented with long exposures anyway to reduce the sharp contrast of the waves on the lake and I liked the results. The lakes in this area are all a bright blue that almost looked unnatural to me. I think this is because these cold glacier melt lakes lack the algae that give a familiar green tinge to the lakes where I live.

The series of photos below shows the progression of the light hitting the clouds and peaks as the sun rose. The first photo has the light just beginning to hit the high clouds and peaks. The exposure was 30 seconds with an ND filter to smooth out the water. Maybe the water is too smooth but I prefer it to my photos with the waves in the water as the waves were adding a distracting pattern to the lake.

In the next photo, the sun is lighting up the clouds and beginning to shine on the mountains. This is probably my favorite image of the morning as I love the color. This was 4 second exposure without the ND filter. You might be able to see a minor color difference between ND filter pictures and those without as it is difficult to adjust them to match perfectly.

In the next photo, some clouds on the horizon temporarily blocked the sun and turned the scene blue except for a tiny strip of light on the lower foothills. I put the ND filter back on for a 30 second exposure to remove the waves. In each of these photos I reset the white balance using the snow on the mountains, so hopefully the colors in these photos are true to the scene.

The sun did come back out to shine on the mountains and the lake settled down a bit as the wind calmed. I climbed around on the cliff we were on to explore other compositions. The light on the mountains was a sight to behold and I did have to take time between photographs to enjoy the view. Many of the other photographers who were out for sunrise were already packing up and heading back, I frankly couldn’t believe this as this was the best light of the morning.

I, of course, took the obligatory panorama of the mountains across the lake. I think the warm, earthy cliffs cutting across the strips of blue along the top and bottom of the frame really works. This was a stitch of hand-held images that seemed to work. Not all my quick hand-held panos work so well.

The overlook from which I took the above photos was a short hike from a restaurant and picnic area along the road. On the way back to the bus, I had to turn around and take in the scene from the picnic area and I thought it made a nice photo. It’s a single exposure and I had to bring up the shadows a lot in the foreground so it may be a bit grainy if you zoom in. I considered removing that green box in the lower left, but it is what was there. Looks like a great place to have breakfast.

The park seemed save for me its best sunrise for last and we were at the perfect overlook to capture it. With the day off to a great start, we headed out to do more sightseeing and some hiking. Thanks for reading.

Upland Goose

29 thoughts on “The Third Sunrise

  1. Beautiful morning shots! Slight preference for the first one (personal), but the second ended up with some wonderful pastels. Works very well as a pano!

    Also really like the second to last (sorry duck). The subject matter provides a compelling juxtaposition.

    Liked by 1 person

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