I shot this this morning for DiVittorio Construction in Campbell, CA.

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I love shooting at dawn. The air is clean because the dust and smog of the day has time to settle out of the sky and this gives us a crisper light. It's also much quieter at 5:30AM than at 8:00PM so we capture a more peaceful and serene mood.

Shooting at dawn takes discipline and commitment. I had to get up at 3:45 AM on a Saturday to drive 30 Miles to Campbell and be on the job at 5:00 AM to get everything set up, and ready to shoot at 5:32 AM. And that's not easy to do in the dark.

Dawn is a less forgiving time than sunset, because shooting at sunset if you miss your time by 30 seconds or a minute you can simply do a longer exposure, or let the sky be a little darker and the scene a little moodier and still get a great shot.

At dawn the light is rapidly increasing and missing the window of opportunity where the light levels are balanced just right means your detail & color balance will be washed out. Not many people are willing to get up that early to give you a second chance to get the shot.

I practice my dawn shots quite often during the off-season or if I haven't had very many opportunities to do them during the busy season. This practice helps me maintain my "feel" for the light and sense of timing of the shot as the seasons change.

I just wish that dormer on the left had been living space instead of an attic. Maybe I'll photoshop the window someday.

AuthorDean Birinyi