Pastel Dawn

Dolomites, Italy

About the Location
The mountain shown is Cimon del Froppa (2.932m) and the picture was taken at sunrise in July during a photography trip to the Dolomites in Italian Alps. The vantage point from where we were shooting was close to the iconic Tre Cime di Lavaredo mountain range (Drei Zinnen).
When planning to take pictures in the mountains during sunrise you need to decide to either get up really early and to hike to your final destination or to camp on location. The former can be really tough especially when the sun is rising around 5:30 a.m. in summer. The latter can also be tricky whenever camping is not allowed in the area. In this case we had decided to stay in the camper van at the parking lot of Rifugio Auronzo at about 2.300m where parking overnight is permitted. Getting to the spot in the morning had only been a short hike not longer than about 20 minutes.
We spent the whole weekend up there giving the opportunity to witness two sunrises and two sunsets in the area. If possible it is always a good idea to visit the same location multiple times since you might experience the same scene under different conditions while your chances for great light and the special picture are increased obviously.
Thoughts on Composition
The image is about the colors and textures in the first place. Although there had been no clouds that morning the gradient of tones in the sky as well as the pastel color palette on the rock face created by the dawn light during sunrise were amazing.
I wanted the mountain to be right in the middle of the frame to emphasize the details brought out by the side light from the rising sun. Technically I could have zoomed in even more or cropped afterwards, but I wanted the colorful sky to frame the mountain on the top. At the same time I decided to include the ridge at the bottom adding a second layer of depth to the scene.
The colors were so nice and shooting that morning was so much fun being in a remote area alone with one good friend only that this image is one of my favorites from 2018. This image brings back good memories from a magical sunrise in the high alpine mountains and I have it standing framed on my desk to go through the trip in mind whenever I look at it. You may have images in your portfolio as well which you really like, but which don't 'wow' anybody else. I think that is just fine since your photography should be about what you like releasing your memories and emotions in the first place.
The image is not cropped. I liked the way I had framed the scene on location and I did not want to change the aspect ratio. Besides slightly increasing contrast I decreased the color temperature to add cooler tones in the bottom half of the image. Moreover I shifted the overall color palette to magenta while the unprocessed RAW file has an orange tint.
I did not apply much sharpening to the original. For presentation on the web I am using a standard script which is applied when downsizing the image to its final resolution (usually 1000px on the longer side).
Camera Settings
Camera: Nikon D500 (1.5 crop APS-C)
Lens: Nikkor 70-200 f/4
Focal length: 102mm (approx. 153mm @full-frame)
Aperture: f/8
Shutter: 1/20s
ISO: 100
Taken on tripod

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