This photo is a couple of things. First, it’s a decent shot of an early morning September sunrise. Not outstanding, mind you, but not half bad if I do say so myself. And I don’t mean that to be self-deprecating, just to say that if I were to rank my Best Sunrise Shots that I have taken over the years I don’t think this would be on it. That being said, I do quite like a few things about it: the trees in the foreground, the rich colors of the sky as dark fades away, and the bright ball of light as it crests the clouds. It’s got a few layers that lead your eye from foreground to background, and I also like how simple everything is. It’s just a basic picture of the sun coming up without a lot going on in the frame to overcomplicate things. It’s not great, but it’s also not awful. It’s fine, and that’s not a bad thing at all.
The other thing about this shot is what it could have been if only I had been able to take it ten, even five, minutes earlier. That’s not a regret per se, but just a statement of fact: had I been able to grab my camera and get outside just a slight bit sooner this image would be entirely different and, most likely, a lot more interesting too. What I was really going for here wasn’t the sun necessarily, but the silhouette of the clouds on the horizon. The wavy fractal lines burning bright with the sun behind them created an amazing view that I noticed shortly after I dropped my son off at school, and I hightailed it back home to get my camera to go take a picture. But the sun is a fickle celestial body and usually just won’t stay put, especially at dawn and dusk.
By the time I made it back home it was already halfway above the clouds! I ran inside, grabbed my D500 and 70-200 f/2.8 lens, hopped back in the car, and drove as fast as I could to the pasture two blocks east of our house. The sun was in a hurry, and so was I–but alas, like C3PO attempting to save his friends from the trash compactor, I wasn’t fast enough. In the few precious minutes it took me to get out of my car, walk across the road, and put the camera to my eye the sun had already crested the clouds and was well on its way. Blerg.
No matter! I did get this shot and a fun story to tell, and of course a learning experience too. And the next time I think there might be a good sunrise, I’ll be ready…