Sunrise at Iron Mountain | Poway, CA

Iron Mountain Trailhead Sign | Poway, CA
Single exposure (1/100 sec at f/4 ISO 100) processed in Lightroom

I am not a morning person. However, photographers sometimes have to drag their butts out of bed before dawn to capture magical light.

Sunday morning I actually allowed my insomnia to work in my favor. Instead of going back to sleep at 5 am I got up, grabbed my camera gear and headed toward Iron Mountain in Poway.

In addition to not being a morning person, I’m also not a hiker. I was there for one reason – the beautiful tree tunnel at the beginning of the trail. I’d driven past it many times, but always on a mission heading somewhere else. This was my first time stopping to explore.

I only had a small window of time where the light was gorgeous and the crowds were thin (its a very popular hiking trail). Here are my favorites:

Iron Mountain Trailhead Sign | Poway, CA

Single exposure (1/100 sec at f/4 ISO 100) processed in Lightroom


Iron Mountain Sunrise | Tree Tunnel | Poway, CA

8-exposure HDR (high dynamic range) captured at f/7.1 ISO 100 – processed in Lightroom, Photomatix Pro, Intensify Pro, and Focus Pro


Iron Mountain Sunrise Clouds | Poway, CA

Single exposure (3.2 sec at f/7.1 ISO 100) processed in Lightroom

Once the sun popped over the mountain, the light changed and the vivid colors faded. Also, it had gotten crowded…alas, time  for me to head home (by way of my favorite breakfast in Santee, Janet’s Cafe).

Even though it was out of character for me, it was a lovely way to start my Sunday morning! I really should try this early morning thing more often…

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