Hi everyone and welcome to today’s post. Over the last few weeks we have had some incredible “cloud events” here in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. I am fortunate to have a beautiful drive to my office. It winds through rural land plowed and planted with corn, winter wheat, soybeans, and other crops. On many mornings a misty fog settles into the low spots obscuring the landscape like a veil. From the high points in the road I can see the mountains of Loudoun Heights, and farther still, the water gap at Harpers Ferry, where the Shenandoah and Potomac join together.
On these crisp, fall mornings, the air is razor clear. The cool mornings coupled with the fog bring a hard rime that coats the land with a white ice. Everything seems crisp and clean; sharp with the expectations of a new day. With my morning coffee I breath in the day, gazing upward to see what treasures the sky holds. Most days are clear with maybe a passing wisp of cirrus clouds. Nothing spectacular really. Just another beautiful day in the panhandle. On this day if was different. Off to the east the first rays from the sun were just peeking over the horizon. The clouds hung low moving slowly on high winds. I just thought it was going to be special. On these days I always have the camera pack ready; batteries charged, cards loaded, camera settings dialed in. And don’t forget the tripod. I hit the road to my favorite cornfield. I arrived as the eastern light came alive. The clouds were slung low along the horizon, rising upwards, soft like flowing silk on the wind. The light hit bringing color and form to the sky. Everywhere I looked the clouds expanded over me like a shifting aurora of pulsing mist.
The corn, freshly cut, stood at attention; the long, even rows of cut stalks marching into the horizon. Overhead the clouds continued to morph into continuously changing organic shapes. It was like an unseen artist created pastel paintings and hung them in the sky. I barely changed camera positions opting instead to simply rotate the camera or switch from horizontal to vertical orientations as I composed on the fly. On this day it was all about the sky. I kept the fields low in the composition to expand the idea of the sky and how it dwarfs the landscape. The show proceeded from Act to Act with a final bow as dawn color faded bringing the high contrast light of the new day.
Technical Information: The image was shot with a Nikon D3x and a Nikkor 17-35mm at 17mm. Dawn Sky No. 1 was shot in one exposure at ISO 100 at f11 for 1/2 of a second. I used a Singh-Ray, 3-stop, hard edge split neutral density filter to balance out the exposure. Dawn Sky No. 2 was shot in three exposures and blended in Photoshop.
Thanks for stopping by today.