The early morning charter boat ride out to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge last week to photograph birds in the wild was one of my favorite parts of the day. The serenity and spectacular sunrise made for a great beginning. I photographed this Great Egret at Sunrise during our first morning on the Refuge. Like us, the Egret was starting its morning and took off into the bright orange sunrise. The sight was amazing.
The colors emitted by sunrises and sunsets are key elements of great photographs but many people don’t understand why the colors are so vibrant. These colors are a result of a phenomenon called scattering. Molecules and small particles in the atmosphere change the direction of light, causing it to scatter. Scattering affects the color of light coming from the sky, but the details are determined by the wavelength of the light and the size of the particle. Because the sun is low on the horizon, sunlight passes through more air at sunset and sunrise than during the day. More atmosphere means more molecules to scatter. Also, different kinds of particles (e.g. dust, water droplets, smoke, etc.) scatter light in different ways so you may get different colors due to particle makeup.
Sunrise Colors with Egret
This image was taken with my Canon EOS 5DS using my Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 II Lens set on 400 mm. The camera was set on Aperture priority mode with the aperture set at f/6.3, shutter speed at 1/1600th of a second and the ISO set at 400. This was a single image processed in Lightroom.
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