A couple days ago, I wanted to get a sunrise shot. Rather than wake up early and travel, I decided I’d shoot my hometown of Grand Rapids. A couple days prior, I scouted out some locations along the Grand River that looked interesting. The morning I got up to shoot, it was raining–again. It’s been raining a lot here lately. Instead of giving up and going back to bed, I chose to give it a shot anyway. What’s the worst that could happen? I’d get wet and not get any interesting shots? That’s a huge bummer during a lengthy trip, but not too bad for a 15-minute drive downtown.

I figured I’d try for a long exposure of the Grand River, which automatically ruled out taking my Sony a7ii. I use a 10-stop neutral density filter for my long exposures, and haven’t gotten around to purchasing the proper ring to fit my filter system to my Sony lenses. So I packed my Nikon D750, along with my Tamron 24-70 G2 2.8, and headed downtown.

From where I parked, it was a couple blocks to get to my scouted locations. I grabbed my camera bag, my tripod, an umbrella, and went out. Along the way, I passed by some early-morning activity in the park. Signage posted along the path informed me that there’d be a Labor Day celebration in the park. Luckily, it was early enough that there wasn’t much pedestrian activity in the area I wanted to shoot.

I set up on an old boat launch, and got my camera set up on its tripod. I took a test shot to get my settings, in order to calculate my long exposure time. I then set up my filter system, and slid in a Benro 10-stop neutral density filter. Holding an umbrella over the camera, I used my shutter release to take a 52-second exposure on bulb mode. What I ended up with, below, is a rainy morning sunrise long exposure in Grand Rapids. From the boat launch, you can see the Grand River; then, in the distance, the Amway Grand Plaza and J.W. Marriott hotels.

An early morning sunrise in Grand Rapids

An early morning sunrise in Grand Rapids

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