Erika Berry » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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May 312016

Photo copyright Erika Berry

This photo is of a sunrise at the Grand Canyon.  I’m not a person who would normally wake up at 3 AM on a freezing February morning to go to the Grand Canyon, so I wanted to capture this moment in this photo.  I was waiting around for about an hour in the cold and dark, so when those rays peaked over the snow covered canyon, illuminating the sky, I was more than ready.

Getting to the Grand Canyon started off quite comical. My roommate’s car door was frozen shut, so when I yanked it open it wouldn’t close again. I held the door shut as we drove to our very early breakfast at IHOP. Thankfully, after eating, the door decided to cooperate and I wasn’t left holding it closed all the way to the Grand Canyon.

When we got there it was pitch black and we still had time before sunrise. We waited in the car until suddenly we noticed the sky beginning to lighten. We were panicking that we’d miss what we came for, so we wrapped ourselves in blankets and ran all the way to the outlook. The horizon was still dark. We waited, and waited, and waited.

More people started to gather around, as it got closer to the sunrise. We all waited in anticipation. The sky slowly lightened more and more. I started taking pictures but they were still too dark to see much detail. I’d have to wait even longer for the perfect shot.

I stood directly in front of where the sunrays were going to peak over. I finally got to shoot when the sun was high enough. Many of the pictures had sun flares though. So I chose this image as my favorite because of the centered subject, detail in the snow covered canyon, and minimal lens flares. This photo captured a moment that I probably won’t wake up at 3 am again to create.

I shot this photo with my Canon EOS Digital Rebel and a 18mm-55mm lens at 22mm. My ISO was at 400 and my shutter speed was 1/60. My aperture was set at f/22 to allow me to capture the sunburst. As far as post processing goes, I resized, lightened up some shadows, and healed some dust spots in Lightroom.

About the Photographer:

My name is Erika Berry and I’m a junior and photo minor at Northern Arizona University. I’ve always liked photography and taking pictures as a hobby even though I may not be the best at it. I prefer taking photos at leisure rather than having a specific assignment. My favorite subjects to photograph are candid pictures of people. I like working in natural light a million times better than indoor light. I’m hoping that the tips and techniques I’ve learned through photo classes at NAU will help enhance my photography.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at take a minute to leave your thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Erika would love to hear from you!