A night in the mountains. Part 2/2, Sunrise

If you haven’t read Part 1, please go ahead and do so here.

When I packed up and left the location of my sunset shoot, I had this idea that I might get the chance to do some star photography during the darkest hours of the night. But as the night progressed and I was awake quite a lot of times (if I ever really slept in the first place), I saw that it never became dark enough. At the most I could see a handful of stars, so there was no point in getting out and trying.

Around 4 am, I drove back to where I was the night before, and I set up at the same spot. I wanted to get the first sunlight on Bitihorn, and also a shot of Bygdin and the distant mountains behind it. A sunrise was right around 5 am, I had plenty of time to find my compositions. Unfortunately, there were no clouds, only a quite hazy, cloudless sky. Therefore I needed to include more ground than sky. I settled on two compositions of Bitihorn, one quite wide and one more tight.

I could not see the sun directly from my position, so as the sun rose, I had to take several shots just in case the light would be blocked by a cloud just at the right moment. But I was lucky, the sky was just as cloudless in the North-East as it was in the South and West. In the end, these were the two keepers, one of each composition:


Bitihorn sunrise, tight version. Canon 550D, Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM @67 mm, f/8, 1/5 s, ISO 100


Bitihorn sunrise, wide version. Canon 550D, Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM @28 mm, f/8, 1/5 s, ISO 100

Which one do you like the most? Let me know in the comments. I’d also like to know which one is your favourite from my sunset shoot the evening before.

I also had a nice view of Bygdin to the West from this same spot. I just had to turn 90º to my right and adjust the focal length to get this:


Sunrise over Bygdin. Canon 550D, Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM @76 mm, f/8, 1/4 s, ISO 100

With a nice sunrise in the can, it was time to break up and head home. On my way back to the car I came by a small field of cotton-grass (Eriophorum), backlit by the morning light. I just had to get that too.


Cotton-grass. Canon 550D, Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM @42 mm, f/14, 1/6 s, ISO 100, focus stack.

For this to work, I needed the whole image to be sharp from front to back. With a focal length of 42 mm that is not possible in one shot, so I focus stacked two images, one with focus on the cotton-grass and one with focus on the background. I also normally don’t want an aperture smaller than f/14.

By now I started to feel the need for some breakfast. I went back to the car and started on my way home, intending to find somewhere to eat in the morning sun. Just past Bitihorn and Båtskaret, I found what I was looking for. A small peak in the open landscape, just a couple of hundred meters from the road, and with a parking space nearby, was bathing in sunlight. I took my breakfast and climbed to the top.

With Bitihorn behind me and the valley of Øystre Slidre spreading out in front of me, I enjoyed one of the best breakfasts I had had in a long time.

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