Sunrise at Rodanthe Pier

This is the Nikon version of one of the images I captured with my iPhone 6 and the Slow Shutter app. I like the orange-red of the sky and how it is reflected off the water on the beach.

The image was shot my Nikon D5100 on a tripod at three exposures (-2/0/2) and combined in Photomatix Pro with the Natural preset to create an HDR.

I removed several sensor spots in Adobe Lightroom and then applied the Kodak Gold 100 Warm preset from VSCO Film 00 (grain to zero). I levelled the horizon and added a post-crop vignette by setting the amount to -21, midpoint to 0, and roundness to 51.


  • Nikon D5100
  • Tokina 12.0-24.0 mm f/4.0
  • Manfrotto tripod
  • Hoya 0.9 ND filter

Almost Sunrise

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It's our second day here in the Outer Banks and I am already starting to losing track of which day of the week it is. It feels like Sunday -- again. Today, as we yesterday is cloudy. I was exhausted so didn't get up until around 6:30 AM. I looked out the west-facing entrance and saw the orange glow of the sunrise from the beach. I excitedly rushed to put on some shorts before running out the door with my camera. But the journey to the beach took to long. The sand between the land and the beach was too soft and got bogged down. I arrive at the beach too late to capture the glory of this mornings' sunrise.

I found a dune and set up the camera to capture the last bit of orange in the sky. While setting up the camera I notice small piercing bits of pain all over my legs. It took me a while to realise that some small black flies -- so tiny it was to even see them in the dim morning light -- had covered my legs and my pants. Ouch!

This is a three image HDR shot as a long exposure on my Nikon D5100 with a Tokina 12-24mm f/4 AT-X Pro DX-II and Hoya 77mm NDx400 HMC neutral density filter at ISO 100 f/11. The images were combined in Nik's HDR Efx Pro. I normally used Photomatix Pro. That software is installed on my iMac but I am editing with my MacBook Air and I forgot to install Photomatix Pro before the trip.

I used a filter adapter to use the 52mm Hoya on the 77mm score size of the lens. I cropped the image to reduce some shadows at the edge. The following was applied to the HDR image in Adobe Lightroom.

  • Exposure: 0.95
  • Contrast: +25
  • Whites: +44
  • Blacks: -9
  • Clarity: +17

Playing is learning

Learning versus playing. That dichotomy seems natural to people such as my radio host, my debate opponent, my President, my Education Secretary — and maybe you. Learning, according to that almost automatic view, is what children do in school and, maybe, in other adult-directed activities. Playing is, at best, a refreshing break from learning. From that view, summer vacation is just a long recess, perhaps longer than necessary. But here’s an alternative view, which should be obvious but apparently is not: playing is learning.Peter Gray