Originally this morning was supposed to be all about a waterfall. I had driven up near Sundance and hiked in a few miles to shoot Stewart Falls in the morning light. After shooting there I was hiking back and came upon this beautiful scene. I positioned the tripod so that the sun would just be peaking out behind an aspen and set my aperture to f/22 so I would get that nice sunburst shape from the sun.
I composed the image this way so there would be the sunburst on the left and a stand out aspen on the right to balance the frame. These are the most dominant elements in the frame and are what will draw the eye the most. The forest floor that is carpeted with ferns serves to add interest and depth to the picture. With the sun in the frame I knew I would need to bracket my exposures for an HDR image. I set my camera to take pictures at 0, -2 and +2 exposure compensation. Once home I processed the files in HDR Efex Pro and ended up only using the 0 and -2 exposures. The original exposures are below.
Although I was originally just looking for good shots of the waterfall, this might be my favorite image of the morning. So keep your eyes open for other opportunities for great images when you set out with a specific subject in mind.