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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | September 17, 2021

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As Winter Hits, The Camera Clicks

Hannah Rieck

I have two questions: why is it cold, and when will it end? Days are shorter, the nights are longer and although the Brisbane winter is fairly mild compared to the likes of London, for us beach lovers it dampens our mood. Soon the early mornings will be subject to those misty, frosty skies. Suspicious tans won’t fade, eating will become a comfort thing and staying indoors will be the only nightlife.

Brisbane doesn’t offer snow, or even picture perfect winters, but the good news is the sunrises/sunsets, stormy winter nights and misty mornings will bestow incredible photo opportunities. One of the best locations to indulge and capture Brisbane’s winter sunrise is Mt Cootha.

A sunrise is a pre-requisite for any budding photographers portfolio. There are a variety of methods used by photographers to capture a sunrise, depending on the desired effect. It is suggested that you use manual focus due to countless lighting conditions in a sunrise. This will make it challenging for your camera to automatically focus on the scene. Ensure a tripod is accessible – the slower the shutter speed, the more difficult it is to take a stable image! You will want a slow shutter speed to enable enough light to reach the camera sensor. To capture the colours formed by the sun, play with the auto white balance mode. I would use the cloudy or shade feature to eliminate excessive colour loss.

When photographing from Mt Cootha, Brisbane city is in the forefront and thanks to the winter skies; clouds are generally engulfing the sun. For me this is ideal for capturing the perfect sunrise. I prefer the sun to be a small object, while the clouds become a canvas for the sun’s multiple shades to paint, as seen below.

Photo Credit: Wm. Li

Photo Credit: Wm. Li

To achieve this effect a wide-angle lens is most favourable. A good lens to use would be a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L. If you wanted to enhance sun size or more specifically utilize the sun as your highlight, a telephoto lens is required. An excellent telephoto lens for landscape is the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L. Remember this is a zoom lens; do not look directly into the sun!

Photo Credit: Meph666

Photo Credit: Meph666

I would set your camera on TV (Time Value) mode, also known as Shutter Priority. This allows you to set your shutter speed, avoid underexposure and simultaneously the lens will adjust to the appropriate aperture. If you want to increase your depth of field, by all means change to AV (Aperture Value) mode, also known as Aperture Priority and choose a small aperture (a larger f-stop) and let the camera choose the shutter speed.

This sort of photography requires patience as you will often change your settings to suit not only the scenario but also the weather conditions at the same time. Good luck and happy shooting!