In prior attempts to catch first light over Lake Michigan I have generally been a bit late to capture the richest dawn colors. On Sunday, January 8, a clear and relatively cold morning, I made another attempt, getting to the bluff overlooking the lake at Virmond Park a solid 45 minutes before sunrise.
Here is one of the shots I took of a (now familiar) clump of trees at the edge of the bluff. This time I used a wide-angle view to capture the entire clump, as well as a good portion of the pre-dawn sky.
The real subject of this shot, of course, is the sky, which was displaying a full range of colors from a deep blue high in the sky to a deep red-orange at the horizon.
The remainder of the shots were at the edge of the bluff and just featured lake and sky. Here are a few of those.
The second and third of these shots were taken at more of a telephoto focal length, with the last shot being cropped in a more linear fashion to emphasize the horizon.
Although a close look does reveal some texture in the lake water in these shots, generally speaking, they are about as simple as they can get, Even so, I like them as color abstracts.
Late last year when I had attempted to get crisp images of the horizon, I had concluded that I would never be able to get a shot of a really sharp horizon over the lake because of the amount of humidity in the air. These shots proved otherwise.
I noticed late in the shoot (I say late because the cold was really starting to get to me) that there were a few low clouds over the lake to the south and took a shot that I cropped to feature those clouds.
This is the last shot that I took and for whatever reason does not have the crispness of the others. Moreover, it reflects the fact that the sky was getting lighter and I was losing the deep blue I had been able to capture early in the shoot.
One final note: To try to capture the rich predawn colors, I set the white balance on "cloudy" and underexposed most of the shots by one f-stop.