Directing the Eye Using Overexposure

by | Feb 23, 2018 | Stories & Expeditions | 1 comment

Here’s some real-world composition for ya!

I wasn’t planning on creating this video, but because finding, composing and tweaking this shot turned out to be so “textbook perfect”, I couldn’t help but step back and quickly explain how it came together.



Behind the Scenes Insights

•  I didn’t go out that morning to take pictures of gravestones. I was out to observe. The Meteoblue app showed it was going to be practically completely cloudy that morning and I was just curious to see what the sky looked like when the app showed these conditions:

Saturday Screenshot_20180210-055358

•  I was also deathly curious to know if sunlight might actually poke through the clouds while it was right on the horizon, even if it was just for a few seconds. I figured since clouds around here usually move from west to east, and because it was going to be relatively clear before sunrise, I thought perhaps that there was enough probability in the margin of error that there could actually be some colorful clouds.

•  I was thus pleasantly exhilarated when there appeared a small, localized slash of color on the distant horizon right at sunrise. I couldn’t get in a good position to shoot it, but I thought it was pretty amazing that my prediction was actually not unfounded.


•  Now, of course, I could have done all this prediction and experimenting stuff at home. But my decision to go to a new location came through the consideration of my 2018 goals. One of those goals is “to take beautiful pictures” and I hadn’t tried to take a beautiful picture all week! So, when Saturday rolled around, even though a pretty sunrise or sunset was not in the forecast, I knew it would be worth running out for a quick “sunrise” shoot that was actually an “observe blue hour” shoot (and that actually turned into a “shoot a gravestone” shoot). Smile

•  I had never been to this little old church, so without a good sunrise forecasted, it was a good time to scout it out.

•  To never trespass is a good adventure-photography rule to abide by. You just don’t know when you might accidentally miss seeing signs like this!


•  And one final observation, I think it’s hilarious that though I went for blue hour, I spent all my time observing that I never actually took any pictures till after blue hour. Smile Such is the way of landscape photography. You can never expect what you’ll come away with.

If you happen to make a good sunrise or sunset prediction this weekend, you might be happy to know that this week’s photo assignment is “Pink Clouds”! You can submit your photos at

180210-JAS-538203_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 17 mm, 13.0 sec at f - 18, ISO 100

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1 Comment

  1. Hannah Schmechel

    Thanks, James! I was actually out taking pictures this morning, and I wish that I had seen this blog post beforehand!


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