Honestly, I have not discovered a better place to be at sunrise than the south tufas at Mono Lake, CA. The light is magical. The formations are inspiring. And the location is remote, yet accessible. I am sure that there are places that are better, but I haven’t discovered them yet.
Because of the situation, it is easy to get a good shot, but difficult to get one that brings you the whole scene. This shot does that. It isn’t a true panorama in the sense that it was taken with a wide angle lens and cropped, but it is still in the panorama format and it shows the birds, both in flight and on the ground.
I took this before the sun was over the horizon, but the birds were still active. I was trying to give a sense of the movement of the birds and used a long shutter speed to blur their movement. Those wispy blurs above the tufas are the birds in flight. By using a long shutter speed and my tripod, the moving birds are blurred, but the rest of the scene is still sharp. In Lightroom, I tried to bring out the details of the tufas, but leave the dark atmosphere of the time of day present by using fill light to lighten up the tufas just a bit.
The shot was taken with my Nikon D300 and a 18-70 3.5-4.5 lens at 31mm. The camera was set at and ISO of 200 and a relatively slow shutter speed of 1/5 of a second to blur the birds, but the aperture was small (f11) in order to increase the depth of field as much as possible.
You can see more images from Mono Lake by visiting my Mono Lake gallery.
Please feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think.