It started with a fiery dawn… And then I shot a big transport plane making a training landing – from the car as I drove down the highway. Don’t do this at home kids. Dead thing? The vulture had a go. There, choose your picture of the day.

Point and shoot. I mostly just let the camera do the settings. Yes, it ain’t professional. No control. Do I need it? I let fly. And even thru the car window. The others were thru the windows of my home. Ha ha. Every year Colleen has the window washer come. It pays to have clean windows.

Helping out

Dawn. Great light. Maybe!? The right moment? Can my camera capture the moment as I see it? All good observations and questions.

Ok! The camera has trouble focusing upon clouds. No contrasting lines help to define a focus point. Set the focus point on the trees or something at the horizon. Exposure. The scene is dark and the meter tends toward overexposure. Metter the sky to increase the saturation of the morning color. Finally, cheat. Use Lightroom to increase vibrance and saturation. It might just look like what you saw at the critical moment.


Great beauty. I see It from my window on some days. It’s a gut feeling that comes from deep down somewhere. I am humbled to see such a sight and to witness nature in its glory. Have I gotten that across to you?

Digital cameras – are there film ones left? – can still be fooled by a scene. They will under or over expose the scene in low light such as dawn. My trick is to meter down at the horizon. It lowers the exposure to enhance the rich orange and reds of the dawn sky. Pointing upward gives too little exposure. And the camera cannot focus. There are no sharp lines. So pointing the focus at the tree line gives an edge for the camera to focus. It is a matter of bending the camera software to your need. Meanwhile I did not have to waste time switching to manual mode.


Early morning light is tricky for the camera. It tends to overexpose for the trees in shadow. And the camera has trouble finding focus in the clouds without a hard edge for contrast. Set the focus point in the tree edge and point the camera into the sky for getting the sky to be a little underexposed. The result is ok. The subtle color makes the shot. The sharp tree border makes things crisp. It works.

No puffin

Brand spanking new! Nikon D200 body. I got it just to shoot the puffins. Ya gotta get up early to catch a ride on the boat going over. I got stopped by a short stubby state trooper on I-95 North. She stared at me with blank amusement and let me go after I explained I was after the birds. Nope! The boat never landed. No birds. The waves were too choppy to land.

And, the shot of the day? Dawn driving across Maine, I spied the sunrise and the fog in the valley. I stopped the car, shoot, and continued on my way. Little did I know of the splendid processing that digital camera body could do. I shot in the dark! It was so dark!! I could never have pulled off this shot with slide film. The auto setting just compensated and rewarded me with the shot of the day! No, nope, no birds. Alas! But dawn? This was almost worth the price of admission. Not quite and not by a long shot but it was partial compensation for my effort. The only thing that was harder to photograph during my time in Maine? Moose!! I chased moose sightings everywhere up and down the state. Nope, never, nada, except this one time….