Capturing the RAW image: my son persuaded me to get up early on this morning in March. The forecast was good and it didn't take too long to get up to the viewpoint at the Eastern end of Loughrigg Fell overlooking Ambleside and Lake Windermere. There was mist hanging over the Lake and a few wispy clouds in the sky. The low lying clouds to the East initially prevented the early morning sun coming through but after a short wait, during which time my son pinched the tripod, the first rays of sun caught the rocks in the foreground and the tops of Claife Height in the distance. Using the wide zoom at 10mm (15mm) I set the aperture to f11 to get a good depth of field and underexposed by one stop (EV-1) to ensure the full range of light was captured in the RAW file. The camera set a shutter speed of 1/30, so I increased the ISO to 400 to be absolutely sure that I would not get any camera shake, a bit unnecessary but it made me feel better.
Processing the image: this image is a bit more complex to process due to the bright sky and the deep shadows in the rocks. The RAW file suggests that all the beauty of the early morning light has disappeared, but this is just the beginning. I lightened the whole image to get the foreground better exposed, knowing that the light information in the highlights would not be lost. I lightened the shadows and darkened the black point slightly to emphasises contrast. No tone curves were required. I did not change the colour temperature or tint, and left the vibrance and saturation untouched as I wanted the overall colours to remain unchanged. I did however want to bring out certain colours of the early morning light. Using the colour mixer I raised the saturation of the oranges, and luminance and saturation of the yellows and greens. A little clarity and dehaze improved local contrast and a small amount of vignette focusses the eye on the centre of the scene without being intrusive. Split toning was not used and I applied sharpening to just the most obvious edges. This left the image looking better but lacking a certain 'zing'. The sky was too light and the foreground lacked interest. Using the linear gradient tool I drew a line from the top of the picture to the bottom of the lake, reduced the exposure and highlights, increased the white point a little and applied a moderate amount of dehaze to bring out the colours in the sky. A second linear gradient was applied to the foreground, the highlights and white point were increased substantially to give the area more life.