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“Fog on Radnor Lake at Sunrise” by Robin Conover
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
24-70 mm, 2.8 L IS USM lens at 24 mm
ISO 100, ƒ18 at 1/20 second, Gitzo tripod

Sunrises can be difficult to capture — even for those who are decidedly morning people. I am decidedly not one of those who can jump out of bed ready to conquer what’s ahead. I usually have to warm up to the day a bit more slowly — except when I’m preparing to photograph a sunrise. So, I have to prepare the night before to make sure I’m at my location about 30 minutes before sunrise.

This particular image was shot about this time last year. The weather conditions reported the night before seemed promising. I packed my gear and laid out my clothes so I could get to Radnor Lake in Nashville and hike to this spot before first light.

Many factors play into making a sunrise photogenic. Location, weather and timing are all critical in giving you the best chance to capture something special through your lens.

Fall offers some of the best opportunities with beautiful fall foliage and changing weather patterns. Warm days and cool nights can create fog that will hang around into the early morning hours.

As the sun rises, warming air currents will begin to move the fog around as it lifts. Fog and clouds can make for an array of interesting combinations as the first morning light filters through them.

If the sky is cloudless or if it’s windy, your chances of a nice shot will be greatly diminished. Even a 5 mph breeze can keep fog from settling overnight.

Scouting your location is just as important as a cooperative weather forecast. Look for a foreground that will add to your composition. Water can be an excellent choice as it will reflect the sunrise, adding depth to your image. Being close to water will also increase your chances of fog playing a part in the image.

As I secured my camera to the tripod at Radnor, I thought the sunrise had promise. From first light to the time the sun began to peek over the ridge was only 27 minutes. The interesting play of light, clouds and fog lasted for only 10 minutes. Within a minute of the sun rising above the ridge, the light was too harsh to continue shooting this scene. I moved on, hoping I had captured this fleeting moment.

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About Author

Robin Conover

Robin Conover has spent the last 23 years documenting the people and places of Tennessee with The Tennessee Magazine. After graduating from Murray State University, Robin began working for magazine in October 1988 as a communications specialist and photojournalist. She now serves as TECA vice president of communications and editor of The Tennessee Magazine. Her interest in preserving the environment and Tennessee’s beautiful natural areas has led her down many miles of trails to capture thousands of images. Robin is currently a board member of the Friends of Radnor Lake, a nonprofit in Nashville. Robin’s images can be seen in greeting cards, calendars, books and at a few fine-art shows she participates in each year.

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