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After a full day 4x4 action, sun, sweat, dirt and photos, we headed back to get cleaned up and ready to head to Sedona. The plan was to head up there in the evening of Day 1 so that we were ready for sunrise shots bright and early the next day. Unfortunately there was a major accident one the somewhat only road to take us there. Bad news, later getting there than thought. Good news, spending more time and dinner with family. Well worth it.
After a few hours we said our goodbyes and hit the road for Sedona. It was an easy trip, Pam slept most of the way after our long day. The roads were straight and uncluttered with traffic, it was dark, but we got to our destination around 11pm. Little did we know what we could not see during our drive in the dark.
Our plan the next morning was to get up early and get shots of Cathedral Rock at sunrise. I had done a lot of research to try to find some of these amazing red rock formations seeing that low sunlight at first light. The goal is to look for that because since the sun is going through so much atmosphere it isn't as intense. This is the same reason why you get that golden color and sunrise and sunset, called the "Golden Hour". Should make the red rocks glow.
Now you you will hear a common trend in all of my trip reports, I want something different. It's easy for anyone to go to the same spots for photography, but guess what, you get the same photos. Sure, lighting is always different, but the composition will always be the same. Cathedral Rock is no different. It's probably the most photographed formation in the southwestern US.
Using some of my tools, I chose to set us up at a small trail head parking lot directly east of Cathedral Rock. We were going to get there right around first light.
Then next morning we woke up, got dressed and grabbed the gear. When we stepped out of our room to get in the vehicle we were well past first light, but were wowed by the huge mountain right beside our hotel. Oh my, I had never seen anything like that. We now realized what we missed driving up in the dark.
Not sure why daylight was much earlier than planned and stated, but we headed on over. We still had plenty of time to get setup. It took us about 15 minutes to get to our location.
We setup in the parking lot, setup our tripods and started adjusting our settings. I was shooting wide angle with my Sony a6300 on my Manfrotto tripod, while Pam was using her Sony a5000 on a mandrotto as well. We set our ISO to 100, closed the aperture to the max that our lens would go, I was at f22, and then setup our phones as remote triggers, adjusting the shutter speed as the light grew. All went well, but I wasn't totally happy with the spot. I didn't feel like I had enough foreground, and was still a bit far away, but kept shooting. I consider an okay shot here. Pam eventually moved off of Cathedral Rock to get shots of the range to its left.
Once we were done we packed up and headed back towards our hotel, and breakfast. Great first sunrise session of the trip.