Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hilton Head Sunrise

Here I am on vacation getting very little sleep.  Seems when I'm on vacation I'll get up after 4 hours sleep and head out in hopes of a good sunrise.   This time we're in Hilton Head, SC staying a short walk from the beach.   After staying up to almost 1:00 I got up at 5:15 AM and walked down to the beach.   The thing about photographing sunrises is you never know what you'll get.   Sometimes I get there and the sunrise is a dud, like my recent Roan Mountain sunrise hike.   Other times I'm blessed with a beautiful dawn.

This morning I got there long before the sun.   There were very few people out that early.   By the time the sun came up there were dozens of people walking, running or walking their dogs on the beach.   It was low tide and there was probably 200' of beach.  Later today when the tide comes in there will only be about 30' of beach with people everywhere.   Early morning is the time to be on the beach on the Eastern shore.

Hilton Head Sunrise

This photo is available for purchase here

This was taken with a 17-50mm lens @ 33mm then cropped down to a wide landscape.  I used a small f/16 aperture to maximize my depth of field and manually focused on the grass in the foreground.   I also used a 2-stop and a 3-stop graduated neutral density filter stacked together to keep from blowing out the sky.   I still had to darken the sky some in Lightroom.  It's tough shooting into the sun and still being able to see the details in the darker areas of the image.

I also had to adjust the white balance.  The camera was on auto white balance and because the sky was so orange it compensated by making the photo more blue.   The sand had a distinct blue tint to it before adjusting.

Because we're on an island we also have the opportunity to shoot some sunsets as well.   I'll try a couple sunsets before the weeks is out.


  1. What a beautiful picture! Thanks for sharing. Email us if you have any questions or if you would like to rent bikes, kayaks or go fishing. palmettodunes@stepaheadinc.com

    -Bailey at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort

  2. very nice blog…Hilton head is very beautiful place,it has many qualities.Beaches,like quaint shops, unique restaurants and pubs.The main quality is sunrise,that can adds feathers to your vacations.

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    Vacation Rentals In Hilton Head