There was a hot air balloon rally at the Letchworth State Park over the Memorial Day weekend, with launches scheduled before sunset and also after sunrise. But that is a topic for a separate future story. The timing turned out to be great, with about half an hour between sunrise and the launch start.
With sunrises in summer being early, this one falling at about 5:40 AM, and an hour long drive to get there, this was a 4 AM wake up call. All in all, it was worth it not just once, but twice: I loved the sunrise and I loved the balloon rally.
For the end of May, the temperatures were quite low, just a few degrees over freezing. But that was a good thing. First, somehow a dose of discomfort makes these expeditions more rewarding. And second, cold air and warmer water created a nice gentle haze over the river.
The sky was completely free of clouds, which meant there was nothing to get lit up from below. but also nothing to cover up the horizon as I had seen many times.
The sky was quite colorful upon arrival and I had to move quickly. I did not have to search for a location since I stood at the selected spot a day sooner. Tripod in position, camera attached, f/22 in anticipation of the rising sun to get as much of a star burst as possible, focus on the furthest foreground vegetation, lens at 24 mm. A few test shots, adjusted tripod even lower to highlight the tall foreground grass. Added a graduated ND filter to balance the shaded gorge and the bright sky. A few more test shots. Now time to wait for the peak.
And then it happened. The sun blasted its rays tight at me and what I saw you can see in this photo. A wonderful show that only Mother Nature can put on!
Have fun watching the sun in your neck of the woods!
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