Sunrise Reflections, Bosque del Apache – How I created this photograph

Sunrise Reflections, Bosque del Apache – How I created this photograph

1 – How this photograph was created
Each time I visit Bosque del Apache I set it as a goal to take photographs without any birds. This was the first photograph I took that morning. When I created it I believed it would be the best image for that morning and it turned out to be so.

This photograph was taken during our just completed Bosque & White Sands Workshop. The sun was not up yet. I was so convinced that this was a strong image, a ‘keeper’ as they say, that I told the workshop participants that I had created my best image for that morning and that we could leave for breakfast now. Many participants joined me in capturing this scene.  Somehow I knew that this was a strong image, possibly the strongest image I was going to create that morning. How did I know? From experience taking tens of thousands of photographs over many years. In other words, because of practice.

I also don’t use a light meter on my manual camera, instead I set the f-stop and shutter speed based on my evaluation of the light level of the scene. After many years of doing so I have become quite good at it. Usually, I find the perfect exposure after 1 or 2 attempts. That morning I found it at my first attempt. In fact, the photograph above was the first exposure I took that morning. I saw it as a sign that this was a truly exceptional situation.

2 – Skill Enhancement Exercises
Practice finding out if you have a ‘keeper’, when you are working in the field, and when you first see the image on your LCD scren.
– Does doing this come naturally to you?
– Is it challenging?
– If yes, which aspect of this approach is the most challenging?

After returning to your studio, take a look back at the images you believed were ‘keepers.’
– Were you correct? Are these photograph as good as you thought they were once you convert and optimize them ?
– If you were not correct, why do you not like these images as much as you did in the field? What changed?
– If you were correct, what are the strong aspects of these images?
– What is it about them that makes them work visually?



Sunrise Reflections, Bosque del Apache

3 – About Alain Briot
Alain Briot creates fine art photographs, teaches workshops and offers DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. Alain is the author of Mastering Landscape Photography. Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available on as printed books and as eBooks on Alain’s website at this link:

You can find more information about Alain’s work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to Alain’s Free Monthly Newsletter on his website at To subscribe simply go to and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive information on downloading the table of contents, plus over 40 free essays by Alain, immediately after subscribing. Alain welcomes your comments on this essay as well as on his other essays available. You can reach Alain directly by emailing him at

Alain Briot
Vistancia, Arizona

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