Lake Plastiras sunrise with fog and sun behind the trees, a duck in the middle of the frame

Early morning activities in Lake Plastiras

Lake Plastiras sunrise with fog and sun behind the trees, a duck in the middle of the frame

Lake Plastiras sunrise, a photo by eliaslar on Flickr

In a recent escape from Athens, and before heading to our beloved Pelion, we decided to spend one night in Lake Plastiras, on the mountains of Central Greece. It was one of those last moment decisions but it proved to be a very interesting and heart filling short break.

The lake is situated almost 20kms from the city of Karditsa and is easily accessible by following the windy mountainous roads and after ascending almost 800m of altitude, above sea level, where the lake is placed. As a traveller’s tip, I would suggest to anyone who would like to visit the lake, with a car, to follow the road from Mitropoli to the northern part of the lake and not the road through Moschato village. The ascend through the northern road is much smoother and the road is wider!

I must admit I was a bit disappointed when I found that autumn hadn’t fully arrived in this place yet. I was hoping to find the lake and the surrounding forests “blooming” with autumnal mood and my most favourite earthy palette but the prolonged summer had kept everything mostly green…what a pity, right? 😀 Of course on the mountains it was more autumn like than the all year-long summer city of Athens but it was not what I was expecting to find.

I knew this was going to be a really good chance for some early morning photography, so I did some homework. I spent some hours over the google map of the area looking for potential spots to watch the sunrise. I checked the satellite images of the cloud coverage, the weather forecast and photos of the area in panoramio. The map research was successful and the spot that I had found was exactly as I had it in my mind. A snake-like bay part of the lake, with an almost clear view to the east and trees nearly touching the lake. That would have been my spot, I knew the shore would make some really nice leading lines and add perspective to the frame.

Early morning in lake plastiras, still water, rising fog and reflection of the first light

Lake Plastiras sunrise v2, a photo by eliaslar on Flickr

The forecast was all about a cloudless sky, which meant a sky without dramatic tones and light so my last hope was to have some mist covering the lake. I woke up while it was still dark, the fireplace in the room had, almost, gone out and my girlfriend (and of course the rest of the hotel) was in a wonderful and serene sleep so I left in silence heading with my car to the spot I had found.

On my way there I kept on thinking, no autumn palette, no cloudy sky, dammit, at least may my expectation for a misty morning be fulfilled. And it did! The glow of the first light and the windy lakeside, enhanced by the rising fog, gave a surreal twist to that part of the lake. The cloudless sky was indeed not interesting so I decided to leave most of it outside the frame in most of my shots and I concentrated on isolating objects and creating lines. In that place for the next 2 hours it was just me, the water, the mist and a duck that I could hear splashing on the surface but couldn’t really see most of the times. I managed to see her two or three times, with the one almost in the middle of the frame when the sun was already above the tree line and the reflected light on the pebbles of the shore were shinning through the fog. Good timing Mr or Miss duck!

 

So how were those photos were created? Well, someone must keep in mind that:

1. Taking photos during the sunrise means that the longer exposures become shorter, as the light is increasing.

2. The fog works as a natural soft box and it reduces the overall contrast.

3. The fog tricks the light meter of the camera to underexpose, so one must add some stops of exposure compensation.

With those things in mind I went all manual while I was shooting. First of all I used the photo tools application on my phone to calculate the hyper focal distance. Since I am using the expose to the right technique I was constantly checking the histogram to avoid clipped pixels and as the sun was rising, the sky was getting much brighter so I had to keep it within the range using a Lee 0.9 GND Filter and a circular polarizer. Of course except the filters I used a Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod with a 804RC2 head to keep everything rock steady!

For the post processing I used Canon DPP for the RAW processing, I saved the result in TIFF and then I used dodging, burning and Tony Kuyper’s Luminosity masks in Photoshop for the extremely detailed processing they offer.

Both photos were uploaded on my 500pxflickr and artflakes pages. If you would like to use them in your site or if you would like a print of them please contact me through the email in my “Who am I” page of this site.

All my posts in mokbar blog are followed by a song. For this post I chose a song that haunts, in a good sense, the days and nights in my house. Greta Svabo Bech – Circles, based on Ludovico Einaudi – Experiences.

Thank your for visiting!

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