Sunrise Challenge

I have something to say, and I’ve said it before but I don’t care: –

Sunrise totally beats sunset!



So I’ve set myself a little challenge, and I want you all to get involved with me!

Here’s what’s happening!

On Tuesday July 30th I’ll be showing you how I shoot a sunrise in Provence, France, making use of a range of gear to achieve the shot. I’ll use my Platypod Ultra to stabilise my camera for a long exposure in low light, filling the scene with a pop of light from my LitraPro. Getting myself and my gear to the best spot to take the shot I’ll have my camera slung on my BlackRapid Sport Breathe, making everything as comfortable for myself as possible, and when I’m done it’ll all be backed-up to my Drobo to make sure my files are safe and sound.

I want you all to get involved with me! Here’s how: –

From July 30th until August 13th I want you all to go and shoot a sunrise too!

Show me your sunrise shots by uploading them to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and using the hashtag #sunrisewithdave (ensuring your privacy on that post is off so I can see it!)

There’s even a contest running to win some fantastic prizes! They’re listed down below.

Massive thanks to KelbyOnePlatypodLitra, and BlackRapid for providing some truly awesome stuff for you to win, and thanks to Drobo for a prize and for providing the code ‘DAVEWILLIAMS’ which you can all use to bag yourself 10% off a brand new unit at 🙂

Here’s the prize bundle: –

KelbyOne are giving the winner one year of the Pro Plan!

Platypod are giving the winner a Platypod Ultra!

Drobo are giving the winner a Drobo 5N2!

BlackRapid are giving the winner a Sport Breathe Strap!

Litra are giving the winner a LitraPro!

Lonely Planet are giving the winner some of their amazing books!

That’s a prize bundle worth in excess of $1000!

Throughout the 2 weeks from July 30th to August 13th make sure you shoot and upload a sunrise shot for me to see, and I’ve invited special guest judge Peter Treadway to judge the best sunrise worldwide from the entrants to win a KelbyOne membership and a Platypod Ultra! The winner will be announced on August 16th.

Sunrise Challenge – Don’t Miss Anything!

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What’s so good about sunrise and how do you shoot it?

Sunrise and sunset shots are popular, and there’s a reason behind it. The light at these times of day is great, but sunrise has an element of tranquillity about it, and the rest of the world is generally still in bed so us photographers can have far more freedom.

When the sun rises the sky transitions through a series of amazing colours, beginning with the blues of twilight. Here’s what actually happens, science-wise: –

We all know that sunlight appears white, but white light is made up from across the spectrum. These colours interact with the atmosphere and get scattered according to their wavelength and the medium they’re passing through. It’s called Rayleigh Scattering. This causes light with longer wavelengths (at the red end of the spectrum) to power through and light with shorter wavelengths (at the blue end of the spectrum) to be scattered, which gives us beautiful, warm sunrises because at this time of day the light has much more air to pass through before reaching our lens, giving more opportunity for the blue end of that spectrum to be scattered. When there are other particles present in the atmosphere, such as water droplets in clouds, the effect of this scattering is exaggerated even further still and the red and orange hues can fill the sky.

We can plan for a sunrise shot by researching the weather conditions and anticipating when there will be a small amount of cloud to our east, and determining where, from our location, the sun will rise using tech like the PhotoPills app. PhotoPills uses AR and GPS technology to show us where and when the sun will rise (and set) from any given location on any given date. The more planning we do, the greater our chances of an epic sunrise shot!

When we shoot the sunrise it tends to cause problems with exposure owing to the contrast of the scene, so shooting RAW is the best way to go so we can correct the exposure in post. In JPEG the file size is much smaller, and this is because a JPEG file disregards the actual information contained within the pixels that make up the image in order to deliberately keep that small file size. With RAW we retain that information and are therefore in a position whereby we can recover details because we’ve stored the actual information relating to colour and contrast when shooting RAW rather than ‘assuming’ the colour and contrast when we shoot with JPEG.

We should be stable when we shoot sunrise because it’s likely to be a slightly long exposure, so using a Platypod or a tripod to keep the camera rock-steady will enable us to shoot a longer exposure at the correct aperture and ISO, and will result in a much better photo that if we shoot with a high shutter and influence the rest of the exposure triangle adversely as a result.

The sky at sunrise can look beautiful, but often the ground can be dark. We can deal with this by shooting a succession of exposures and merging them in post, or we can use a LitraPro to illuminate the foreground and make it pop in the entire scene. As we know, a sunrise can look amazing, but it’s a foreground that really makes a photo.

So why does sunrise beat sunset? Well, here’s why! As I said already, people tend to still be in bed, and that means we generally will have the place to ourselves. As well as there being less people around, meaning less noise as well, there will be less distractions and less obstruction. The chances of people walking into your shot are slim, and the world is a calm place before the world wakes up. The colours are different at sunrise, and the scene will increase in brightness rather than decrease in brightness which is far easier to deal with for us. The air at sunrise, because of the calmer atmosphere, tends to have more clarity, too. The best thing about shooting a sunrise is that it gives us a burst of energy and sets us up for a great new day!


About the sponsors

KelbyOne takes the best instructors in the creative industry, the ‘rock stars’ if you will, and helps you create the type of images you’ve always dreamed of. Learn more here.

Platypod is the worlds most compact tripod system. An absolute revolution in photography, Platypod is unique, versatile, and a solution to many common problems. Learn more here.

Drobo have absolutely crushed it in data backup solutions. Their answer to data transfer with BeyondRaid, combined with the simple and expandable ‘plug in’ systems, means peace of mind for your data in any event. Learn more here. [10% off – use DAVEWILLIAMS at checkout]

Litra takes adventure lighting to a whole new level, giving you studio lighting in your pocket. It’s compact, rugged, and professional, and it stands head and shoulders above the rest despite its size. Learn more here.

BlackRapid created a game-changing strap and have expanded the range to suit all needs for sling-carriage. Learn more here.

The sunrise doesn’t care if we catch it or not. It will keep being beautiful, even if we don’t bother looking. The difference comes when, in life, we get up an hour early to live an hour more.

Last years winning entry is this amazing shot by Mike Tschappat

I arrived super early to photograph Yellowstone Falls, but it was misty. The sun was blocked and there were wisps pop mist around the falls. That was kind of interesting, and I took some shots of the falls and waited. I was completely alone; it was silent except for the distant roar of the falls. A great blue heron flew along the canyon below me. I kept looking back the other direction to see if the sun was going to make an appearance. Briefly it shone through the mist and I started shooting with both wide and telephoto zooms. After a few minutes the light was gone. I don’t usually title my photos, but I like to call this one, “The Beginning of Time.” Eventually the sun came out and I got my shots of the falls. Just as I was finishing, a bus disgorged a flock of tourists. One of them, seeing me with my tripod, came up and said. “too bad about the fog.”

This year you could win, so get your entries in for the Sunrise Challenge!

KelbyOne. Get better at landscape photography.

The Rules – 1. Entries submitted between July 30th and August 13th 2019 only will be considered. 2. Photo must be taken after January 1st 2019. 3. Submissions made on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter on Public Profiles and using the hashtag #SunriseWithDave will be entered. 4. No limit on the number of entries per person or per account. 5. Prizes provided in partnership with KelbyOne, Drobo, Platypod, Litra and BlackRapid. 6. Prizes may not be exchanged and no cash alternative is available. 7. Judging begins August 14th and winning entry announced August 16th on and social media of sponsors. 8. Judges decision is final. 9. The photographer must have legal copyright over their submission and be the author of said submission. 10. No geographical or age restrictions apply. 11. Submission grants permission to Dave Williams, KelbyOne, Drobo, Platypod, Litra and BlackRapid to use the image for promotional purposes.