Tips for Photographing in the Early Morning Light

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Photographing in the golden light of early morning can be exhilarating, but also exacting. In this video, landscape photographer, Adam Barker, takes you to American Fork Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah for tips on capturing memorable images at dawn.

Adam sets up his tripod in a mountain valley carpeted with snow. “When you shoot in the early morning just past dawn,” he says, “you don’t have much time to take advantage of the golden light.” He recommends that you stay within a consolidated area and don’t move around too much. His composition includes a strip of light along a series of mountain peaks. To accent the dramatic light, he uses a 3-Stop Reverse ND Grad filter. When you position this Grad filter with the darkest density on the horizon line, it will hold back the bright horizon, lighten the foreground through the clear portion of the filter, and add a gradation of brightness to the sky.

Hand-holding the filter in front of the lens, Adam makes several exposures, positioning the filter in different spots with each exposure. He notes that you have to be exact with the placement of your filter line. This gives you the best option to capture the most natural image. Adam’s final image of snow-capped mountains at dawn is a 5-Star keeper.

Changing places, Adam composes what he calls a “peekaboo shot,” white-capped Mount Timpanogos framed through a stand of green trees. For this image, he uses a Gold-N-Blue polarizing filter, which deepens the sky and sets off the peaks. He also shows you how to stack Grad ND filters to achieve a better balanced foreground from shadow to highlight.

Journey into a Utah canyon with professional shooter, Adam Barker, for tips and techniques on capturing scenic images on a cold winter morning in the mountains.



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