Yesterday I went hiking shortly after sunrise with my friend Jane Burns, who is a fine art photographer. The sun was rising between the foggy tree trunks, just above the brush, as we hiked the groomed trail through the state forest just north of Grayton Beach State Park. Jane and I both pulled our cameras out of our packs, to capture the first light. We continued to have jaw-dropping views at every turn of the trail. It was the “golden hour” following sunrise, when shadows are long and the light is warm and diffused. A light fog exaggerated the effect, rendering every scene an ethereal fairy-scape. The first photo above was taken during those first minutes on the trail.
The light changed quickly as the sun came up, and the fog began lifting. Wonderful atmospheric effects played over the landscape as the cooler, shaded areas maintained a misty quality, and open areas became more clear. Normally I carry my bigger camera, but since we were going to hike 8 or 9 miles, I opted to bring only my iPhone 5S. Halfway into the hike, Jane showed me the High Definition function, where the camera shoots two versions, one normal, and one HDR. The higher quality is obvious on some even when viewed on the camera’s small screen.
As the morning progressed, the fall light became crisper, and the colors became more vibrant. Dew remained in the shady areas, and in one section, a carpet of bejeweled, glittering moss underfoot. Both Jane and I tried to photograph the shimmering drops on the moss, but the camera didn’t pick them up. A tightly focused video would have been beautiful.
I stopped taking so many pictures after the first hour or so. The light was still beautiful, the sky a crystal clear blue and the colors so typical of autumn. I still felt like I was walking through a scenic calendar. But I was so very spoiled by the wealth of imagery during that first hour, the golden hour, that I just enjoyed the views for the rest of the hike.
Most of my images are available for purchase. Contact me if you are interested. — Joan Vienot