The Reward for Waking Before the Sun

In Landscape photography, some of the best light is the first light of the day.  Sunrise can be very rewarding, and usually is if you can just pull away the covers and fight the temptation to crawl back in bed.  I usually scope out the sky before I really commit, and other times I just go hoping for good photographic conditions.  This last weekend I decided I was going to get up or miss another great photo op in the beautiful mountain town of Midway, Utah.  I had a shot in mind that I’ve wanted to get for a while:  The Provo River leading the eye to Mt. Timpanogos with pink morning light highlighting the ridge.  I kind of went out exploring and used my sense of direction to scope out an area that would fit the image in my mind.  Despite being the only car in the lot to the trailhead with signs of recent bear sightings covering the posts I headed out along the river with my tripod in hand and pack on my back.  I started to scope out “Plan B” locations thinking I was going to miss the light and scene I was hoping for when I found a branch of a trail skirting towards the mountains.  I trudged through wet weeds up to my waist and was soaking wet after the first hundred feet.  I crossed a flooded area and was glad I wore my L.L. Bean Hunting Boots.  And then I saw the river again.  It was the spot I had been hoping for.  I set up my tripod, got my camera ready and just as I clicked the shutter for a test shot, the sun hit the high ridge of the mountain.  Perfect timing.  Although I was hoping for a little more drama in the sky and maybe not as high a river, I was still excited about the scene that lit up before me.  Just getting out and witnessing such beauty before most people have an alarm set can be so rewarding.  There is nothing like sunrise.  It’s still pure.  Unadulterated.  A day reborn.
The light I had chased lasted only minutes.  Every time I finish a sunrise shot I wonder to myself why I don’t always shoot this early.  Then next time rolls around and I have the sleep devil on my pillow convincing me only crazy people wake up before sunrise.

 

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