That old saying that “luck comes to the prepared” is surely true in photography, but sometimes it’s more luck than prepared. I had scouted this location the day before, and returned to try and catch dawn color. Setting up, it was dark enough that I couldn’t fine tune my composition looking through the viewfinder. (Live View was even worse.) To compose, I opened the aperture and took long exposures with a high ISO. This gave me bright enough images that I could see my composition, and fine-tune as needed. Happy, I started to move my settings back to “normal.” I had set the ISO to 100, when I decided to tweak the composition one more time. I took this image to confirm I was happy, and then sat back to wait for the light show to begin.
It never did. If you look close, you can see a touch of warmth over Broken Top (the peak on the right), and that was all I got. In addition, as the dawn developed the clouds obscured Broken Top completely. Killing time waiting to be sure my opportunity was lost, I was looking at my earlier images and noted that I really liked this image. The camera read the early light very blue, and I liked the mood of the clouds. Noting my aperture and long exposure though, I was worried I would have blurring issues when I viewed the image at full size. (The camera couldn’t focus in the dark, so I had kicked focusing to manual so the camera would quit searching, without noting if I was focused near or far.) Fortunately, when I got home I found everything was sharp.