Photographing the historic barns on Mormon Row at Grand Tetons National Park can be challenging, especially at sunrise. Weather conditions aside, its popularity is easily illustrated based on the number of people who show up… and rightfully so. It’s a very picturesque location to watch the sun rise. It’s doubly picturesque if you have sky full of clouds that are lighting up with color, which we did. My initial composition had me using a longer lens and tightening up on the actual barn, which also had the benefit of adding compression and bringing the Tetons maintain range more into focus. However, no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get a comp that I liked and I really had very little time because of how quickly that beautiful sunrise glow turns into junk.

And that’s where my photo tip comes in. I knew that I wanted to capture the beautiful color in the clouds which pretty much meant that I’d have to use an ultra wide angle lens. This also meant that my foreground would likely seem more diminutive, reducing the sense of scale. All of this was fine, again, because the sky was utterly beautiful, however it can get very easy to lose control and forfeit too much of your foreground in favor of capturing the sky. The importance here is to judge how much of the foreground you’re willing to sacrifice while still being able to faithfully convey the overall scene. There is a delicate point at which cutting off too much of the foreground can result in an awkwardly composed photo and it really falls on you to make sure that you are cognizant of that, especially when you’re greeted with such a beautiful sky.

Camera: Sony a7R with the Sony FE 24-70mm f/4
Filter: Formatt Hitech 105mm Circular Polarizer
Tripod: Really Right Stuff TVC-34L/BH-55
Stylization: Adobe Lightroom 5.7