June and I spent last weekend at Pine Mountain State Park in Kentucky. June went with me for a photo workshop that the park puts on to bring people in during the winter. I was hoping for a foot of snow because winter in the mountains without snow can be a bit blah. What we got instead was a beautiful sunrise that just went on and on.
A good sunrise has enough clouds to pick up the reds, oranges, and yellows but not so many that you can't see the sunrise. Many times we have gotten up long before the sunrise to drive to a spot and wait to see what God does with the break of day only to find the sky completely overcast or no clouds at all. We never know what we will see when we head out.
On Saturday morning we went to what I thought was the best spot for sunrise. When we got there we found my friends Bill Harris and Roddy Addington from Wise VA already in place and set up waiting on the sunrise. As time went on other photographers began to show up. It was cold up on the mountain that morning but we all hung in there waiting. We were not disappointed.
Before the sun rose above the mountains to the east the undersides of the clouds were brilliantly lit with oranges, reds and yellows. There was even a sunbeam shining up from behind the mountains in the photo below. The valley was still dark but the fog reflected the warm light from the sky contrasting with the cool purple of the shadows.
As the sun rose above the mountains a layer of clouds formed just above the ridge. I was able to catch the sun shining between the two and radiating upward out in all directions.
As the sun rose above the cloud bank above the ridge the colors turned from red and orange to yellow. I shot this picture just as the sun was peaking over the clouds. A small aperture of f/22 produced the cool sunstar effect.
The cloud cover was moving and changing as the sun rose, constantly changing the scene. When the sun was high enough to shine down on the fog in the valley it burst out radiating golden "God Beams" down across the valley.
We were blessed with thirty minutes from the first photo to this last one, which is a long time for a sunrise. After this last shot the clouds closed in and the morning became overcast and rainy. Saturday's sunrise was over and it was time for breakfast.
The next day we went back to the same spot. This day the sunrise was completely different with no clouds and less fog in the valley. The sky just got brighter as the sun came up with very little color. The interesting subject this morning was the valley and the fog that was slowly burning off. I used my 400mm telephoto lens to zoom in on this community and church in the valley while capturing the fog in the hills and valleys. You couldn't see these buildings at all on Saturday morning because they were completely fogged in.
I hope you enjoy this series of sunrise shots from Pine Mountain Kentucky. These photos are available for purchase in my Pine Mountain Gallery.