How I Got the Shot: Pastel Sunrise, Raquette River

by Mark Bowie | Photography

Pastel Sunrise, Raquette River and Lake Simond

Exposure Data:
3 exposures: 1/5, 1/10 and 1/20 second, f/16, ISO 200
Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-70mm lens set at 27mm.

Just before the sun crested hills east of Lake Simond, it was already lighting gauzy clouds with pastel hues of blue, yellow, pink and orange. Fog hung low over the eastern shore and it, too, was being painted. The center of the lake was frozen, but the river as it emptied into it was open, reflecting the orange clouds. In contrast to this, the frozen lagoon in the foreground was reflecting the blue sky. To capture detail across the wide range of light—from the bright sky to the dark foreground—I shot three separate exposures, one stop apart, and later combined them in Photomatix Pro high dynamic range software (I currently blend HDRs using Adobe Photoshop CC).

I centered my composition on the bare tree. The marsh grasses seemed to sweep around it. I often photograph scenes for their complementary color palette. Here, on this chilly, tranquil mid-March morning, the pastels and the lyrical composition combined to create a painterly and lively image.

Mark Bowie is a frequent contributor to Adirondack Life magazine and a much sought-after public speaker, offering presentations to camera clubs, environmental groups and others. He recently released a new e-book, Finding November, about his quest to seek out the hidden beauty beyond the month’s bare trees and gray skies. He is a staff instructor for the Adirondack Photography Institute (API). See API’s 2016 schedule of photo workshops, including the newly announced Bandon Beach, Oregon trip, at For more on Mark’s work, visit

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