I thought I’d share this shot with you today, it's one of my favourites.

The rock in the middle is known as “horse head rock” because from the other side, it looks like a horse.

But shooting from this viewpoint, we’re looking at it from behind, so I really wanted to call this image “the horses a__” but chickened out lol.

Anyway, I shot this at a spot down the coast around 4 hours south of where I live in Sydney.

It was the last sunrise of a 4-day trip and I had been a bit cocky about my camera battery never seeming to run out.

After two consecutive nights of shooting the milky way with long exposure after long exposure, I hadn’t noticed my battery was down to 8% by the time we got to the top of the hill for this shot.

And it was one of those sunrises you just knew would “kick off” as soon as you saw the pre-dawn glow on the horizon.

So I picked my composition and was as sparing as I could possibly be with my shots. Only firing off a series of bracketed exposures when the light had changed noticeably.

Luckily my battery held out just long enough to get the exposures for this shot, then a few minutes later when the sun just came into view creating a nice sunstar, I got a couple more exposures and then…. Off went the camera lol (there’s a lesson to learn from!).

But anyway, the next challenge came a few days later when processing the exposures.

It can be tricky to keep these extreme red colours under control on a sunrise like this.

Aside from that though, the main thing I wanted was to make sure the bright horizon didn’t “hog” the frame.

So by enhancing the light reflected off the bush in the bottom left, it helped create some balance with the bright top-right.

Without those highlighted leaves (as small as they may seem) ones eye would be strongly drawn to the horizon without anything to pull you back. The leaves are effectively an anchor, holding your view inside the image.

So, the moral of this story (apart from remembering to charge your batteries!)…

Next time you’re processing a shot that has a particularly bright area off-center, try and find something on the opposite side to balance it out with.

And if you’d like to learn the ins and outs of how to blend exposures manually in Photoshop just like this…

then it’s all covered in my luminosity masking course here.