Friday, February 15, 2008

In The Silence Of Dawn

This Must Be The Best Seat In The House

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


One of the most amazing things about using a camera at dawn is the total silence that envelops you. It's almost as if you're working in a vacuum. These shots were taken some weeks ago, in the cool stillness of an Australian summer dawn, while the rest of the world grappled with winter. There was only a slight breeze across the Yarra River - as you can see from the minor ripples across the surface of the water.

The building you can see is Flinders Street Station, Melbourne's central transport hub. It stretches two city blocks and is always a great sight to behold. But in the darkness or semi-darkness, it is simply magnificent because the golden lighting is cloned as it is reflected in the river. I shot this without a tripod, using an exposure of 1/4th of a sec, F4, ISO 800 and a focal length of only 26mm to get the whole scene in.


This second shot (above) was taken at 0.3 of a sec. F4.5, ISO 800 and a focal length of 34mm because I wanted a different frame altogether. A lot of my new readers might not be aware of this, but I never enhance my shots in any way, nor do I crop them. What you see on this blog is exactly what I see through the viewfinder.

I was very lucky that day - a clear sky and a light breeze is a Godsend for anyone shooting for a reflection in these half-light conditions. All I had to do was line up the shot and press the shutter.

57 comments:

Bubba's Sis said...

Absolutely gorgeous! Since I am never up at dawn, I don't get to see this beautiful time of day. But that's OK with me - I'll catch dusk. ;-)

Casdok said...

Dawn is my favorite time of day. Wonderful shots.

Scarlett Wanna Be said...

Awesome, awesome pictures!!!! I wish I could take shots like that.

daryl e said...

Wonderful stuff. I only recently began to push the ISO so I dont have to rely on a flash .. of course the downside is I must stand very very very still .. not a inbred trait.

Christina said...

Your photography is amazing. I love both those photos. The city is my lady so there is something about seeing all those lights at night that is just comforting.

Am'n2deep said...

W O W !! These shots are truly spectacular.

I love dawn. I love summer...(sigh)...We just got several more inches of snow dumped on us AGAIN last night.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Amazing pictures. A beautiful time of day to be out with the camera.

Crystal

Stacy said...

Beautiful. I wish I had the discipline to be up and out of the house that early in the morning. It is easier in the winter, but too cold outside! Thank you for sharing your photos, David, you have such a great eye for what appeals to us.

katydidnot said...

i want to be there. wow.

Mushy said...

Great work David!

Kathryn said...

Wow! Those shots are absolutely stunning. Just breath-taking!

holly said...

oh man, i point, shoot, then photoshop photoshop photoshop, and still my photos look like a 2 year old drew them, lol.

but, ha HA! you can't write a c# program (or can you...)

i absolutely love pictures of cityscapes. love love love, particularly panoramic ones.

nice pic.

John-Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John-Michael said...

I began delivering newspapers, in the pre-dawn, as a way to have my daytime available for my Son (cerebral Palsy.) I am now addicted to the magic and still wonder of the birth of a new day. On this point too, you and I are in harmony. Gentle, serene, and majestic images.

~**Dawn**~ said...

Postively lovely, David. =)

Lana Gramlich said...

Very nice. :)

Old Wom Tigley said...

Stunning David.. the reflections are awsome mate...

Craver Vii said...

Oh, then that was you! I was doing my morning stretches in one of those windows with the lights on, and noticed somebody taking pictures from far away. I'm glad you didn't use the tripod and zoom, 'cause I was wearing the Spiderman PJ's.

What about this Sky Watch Friday? Can anyone participate? Are there guidelines?

Craver Vii said...

I was mistaken about being in the picture with Spidey PJ's. I was in the building by My-a River, but your picture was by Yarra River.

But I would still like to know about sky watch, s'il vous plait.

imac said...

David, those are just too fab.Magnifico.

I THINK YOU SHOULD (AT ALL SPEED) VISIT MY BLOG.HAHA.

lynn said...

Amazing, David. Did you get up especially early to shoot or was there a reason? I ask because i'm impressed. Nothing gets me up earlier than i need to!

Gawdess said...

I like both pictures and it is interesting how there is a different mood about each.

Corey~living and loving said...

very nice. Someday...I'll get to just take my camera out early....and play. Not till Sugar is older and can be home alone or something...but someday.

Shoshana said...

What a gorgeous shot.

Sniz said...

Oh my goodness! This is just the kind of picture that pulls you right in and makes you feel like you are there. I could feel the breeze and imagined myself walking down that street. Oh, I wish it were true.

jennwa said...

Those are beautiful pictures.

Hope you have a great Valentine's Day!!!

D... said...

I absolutely love city shots! And this is such a great shot from the twinkling star to the lights' reflection in the water. Very cool! What a pretty city you live in.

pat houseworth said...

As I've said before David, nothing better is photography, than night photography of city lights....

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Those are marvelous photos, David. I really like the reflection of the lights. It reminds me of the way the Louisville waterfront looks from the opposite shore of the Ohio River. If I’m ever alert enough to take a camera with me when I’m in Indiana, I’ll take some pics of it.

leslie said...

I love these! Especially the second one with the reflection! :D

Lori said...

wow...incredible shots. Very different from what I see out my door in the morning...or at night.

Even though it's a city, there's something very still and peaceful about it.

I don't crop or enhance either. It kinda defeats the purpose. Nature has a way of putting in just the right amount of color as it is...

Meggie said...

Fabulous shot, Dave. Somehow I can't bring myself to rise early for the sake of photography.

dot said...

Your pictures are always fantastic!
My camera is a mystery to me. Can't seem to make myself read that instruction book.

Sandi McBride said...

You should be in the puzzle business...the city at night shots would make wonderful puzzles...
Sandi

Lilli & Nevada said...

That is so dramatic. Wonderful photography

Max-e said...

These are great shots David.

Everyday Housewife said...

You're such an artist, Dave.
I'm not a pro so I don't know about these things and am wondering, could you get as good a shot with a digital that you could download to your computer?
You didn't ask but I think I prefer the wide view.

Everyday Housewife said...

At second view, I change my mind.
They actually have different views, don't they?
The bottom one has the beautiful reflection and the top one has the beautiful star still out.
There's just a lot in both pictures, isn't there?

Joyismygoal said...

Stunning reflection Awesome colors such a nice sky watch week

AVCR8TEUR said...

Beautiful scenery and all that without a tripod. Dawn is an exciting time - the murmuring sounds of the night slowly booming into a wakening world.

Thank you for reminincing with me about your wonderful childhood with your mum. :)

Lana G! said...

Wonderful! What a great find!

Ida said...

Gorgeous! :)
Beautiful reflections!

evlahos said...

fantastic shots. well done

Randi said...

Oh My God!!this is not possible too beat....
This is my sky watch favorites!!

Sandy Carlson said...

David, somehow the electric light seems natural in these photos. Beautiful and serene and very welcoming. Thank you.

flyingstars said...

WoW...beautifully captured shots!

pts said...

great photographs.

RuneE said...

Without any enhancement that is just great - I would never get near to that.

Hats off!

Juliana RW said...

Gorgeous.... Nice shot

My Sky Watch Friday #3

'JoAnn's-Digital-Eyes'NL said...

this is such a GREAT NIGHT sky! Welldone:)

Come and see my DUTCH skywatch,
and listen to my favorite music while watching...

Greetings JoAnn
Enjoy your weekend:)

Petunia said...

I love dawn too! Wonderful photos!

lissa said...

I like the horizontal one better but both are amazing shots.

Max said...

David,

Gorgeous!!! Absolutely gorgeous :)!
It is so sophisticated...It felt like flying there and walk by the water :)!

Congrats, you are a great photographer :)!

Cheers

bluemountainmama said...

gorgeous shots, david! there IS a palpable stillness in the early morning hours. i wish i was more of a morning person, so i could experience it more frequently.

Dottie said...

Wow.. that is absolutely stunning! I love the fact that you do not edit your photos. That is the way I am a lot of the time too!

Marie said...

Absolutely gorgeous!

Andrée said...

I remember you saying you never photoshop. This is stunning. I would be happy getting half of this with photoshop. This would be a wonderful photo for hanging on the wall, really really big. My Sky Watch is here.