Lake Sebu, South Cotabato: The Daily Short-Lived Spectacle of Seloton
Mundane scenes turn into soulful landscapes when the first streaks of daylight touches the earth – and for landscape photographers, this brief moment is an opportunity unlikely to be missed. It’s the time of the day when the sky breathes fires, the mists fly low, and the scenery as tranquil as a gentle breeze. Of Lake Sebu‘s three unique lakes, Lake Seloton is said to offer front row seats to watch the sunrise or, for photographers, to capture every crucial minute of this golden hour spectacle.
The morning was quiet. Only the oar’s creaks and water splashes of fishermen paddling their dugout canoes break the deafening silence. It was cold. Thin damp mist obscures multitudes of fish cages and water lilies that float still on the glass face of the serene lake. Hints of sunlight touches the hills that cloistered the placid lake. Different shades of different hues paint the heavens bright. Beauty unravels. The short-lived spectacle begins.
This is Lake Seloton.
Quick and basic tips on shooting sunrises:
1. You only have a few minutes, maybe 30 at most, to capture the vibrant colors of the sky. That’s a very short window. However, you could overcome this challenge by being at least 30 minutes or an hour earlier. This gives you time to prep, observe the environment, scout vantage points, and most importantly, to appreciate the serenity of mornings. To make sure I really get a head start, I stayed at Sunrise Garden Lake Resort ( Sitio Outlet, Barangay Lake Seloton, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato) the afternoon before to note possible shooting locations.
2. It’s nice to capture the colors of the sunrise, but it might look like plain. Adding a foreground creates a more dynamic photograph that may tell a story with it. Lake Seloton has lots of subjects to choose from. Observe (refer to #1)
3. The lake is calm, thus, creates reflections. Use the mirror-like properties of the lake. Or you could also set a long exposure. Alternatively, you could use a High ISO or wide apertures (but not so wide) to freeze moments like a boatman paddling on a canoe.
4. Use lines and geometric patterns, maybe silhouettes for subject. Use the mist. It gives a different feel to the photograph. The mist is also responsible for creating tones.
5. Underexposing a bit would give much richer colors. As the sun goes up, colors subtly change as well. Brightness change as well so check your exposure from time to time.
6. Use your tripod.
7. By the way, these tips can also be used for sunsets.
8. Most importantly, there are no rules in photography. So break it if you must.
9. Lake Seloton really offers a good view of a sunset – so does many parts in Lake Sebu, like in Tasiman, or Municipal Lodge, the fields, roads, town center, everywhere.
10. More about Lake Sebu series.
12. More destinations in South Cotabato
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15. Be safe and happy travels.