View Full Version : Cooling Filter for Sunrise Shot?

Eric Leppanen
2-Sep-2005, 12:00
I will soon be photographing our local mountains (Sierra Nevada range, 14K+ foot peak elevation), and I'd like to get a sunrise shot where the peaks of the mountains are illuminated by the first light of sunrise, while the bodies and base of the mountains are still in shadow. I will be at 8000 feet elevation shooting up at the peaks. My problem is that, when shooting such a composition in the past, the color of the peaks has been overly warm (distant trees appear yellow rather than green, etc.). Does anyone have a suggestion as a what filter I should use to retain a warm, sunrise-looking effect while making the trees and other detail elements appear more normal? I assume this would be a cooling filter, but there are a number of varieties (80 series, 82 series, etc.) and intensities of these filters to choose from. I will be shooting Provia 100F and either 160VC or the new Fuji 160S in 8x10.


Mark Woods
2-Sep-2005, 13:45
If you have a color temperature meter. Shoot some tests and make a decision how "warm" is warm enough for the look you're trying to achieve. Once you know, when you get to your location, match the color temperature with the test you shot. At higher elevations you may need stronger UV filters. You also might think about using a pola filter.

Good luck.


David A. Goldfarb
2-Sep-2005, 13:58
Given that you've got competing effects--the warm light of the sun, UV at altitude, and potentially atmospheric haze--and some uncertainty as to how the film will respond, that's one I'd bracket. I'd try no filtration, KB 1.5, KB 3, and KB 6 (which will almost definitely be too much), or the comparable 82-series filters.

Armin Seeholzer
2-Sep-2005, 18:14
I vote for a KB 3!

Ben Diss
3-Sep-2005, 05:38
Would you want that filter in a grad? The shadow might end up too cool without it.


Eric Leppanen
3-Sep-2005, 11:33

The line between highlight and shadow areas will be too choppy for an ND grad. To get both the highlight and shadow areas visible, I'll have to shoot separate exposures for highlights and shadows (with separate filtration, as you point out the shadow areas if anything will need warming rather than cooling), then scan the negs and combine them digitally.

Alternatively I'll just leave the shadow areas dark, and use them to frame the highlights.

Eric Leppanen
6-Sep-2005, 09:32
Thanks for the feedback, guys! I think the moral of the story is to make a practice run with my 35mm camera, using the same film as I'll use with the 8x10, in order to test the various filters and exposure settings possible for this shoot. Looks like there are just too many variables to try to figure it out otherwise. Thanks again!

Don Miller
6-Sep-2005, 10:32
This is a tough shot. At high altitude often sunset is better with softer light. I think the reason so many of us have just average photos of the sun first hitting the mountains has more reasons than just dynamic range and color balance. The element of time is missing. Your standing in the cold predawn and the sun first hits the highest peak. The warmth spreads to capture more and more of the scene. The air warms. Sleepiness gives way. How do you capture that on film?
I don't find a morning "golden hour" in the mountains without some weather. I find a clear sunrise signals "time for breakfast". My experience is mostly in the american southwest.