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As the Day Begins

I assigned myself a project in late May: capturing daybreak and/or the sunrise at the shoreline with my camera. Straightforward enough, right? Amazingly, though I've been at it for more than three months, I've captured only a handful of images. Never did I think I'd still be working on this nearing Labor Day!

Why so few shots? In a word....clouds (or more accurately, lack thereof). Clouds are key.

Admittedly, I haven't been over there on a daily basis. Since it's about a 25 minute drive for me to my location-of-choice, and because the sun comes up here just after 5am during the longest days of summer, for a few weeks I had to be in position and ready to shoot no later than 4:30am (typically the best color occurs prior to the sun actually peeking up over the horizon).

In the interest of keeping myself from becoming too bleary-eyed, I tried to make educated choices about whether or not to give it a whirl. I do check the forecast each night (for what it's worth!).

An ideal sky needs to be painted with some clouds to pick up the light. No clouds means there probably won't be an image that day.

Because there are so many trees surrounding my house and in this area in general, though, I can't go outside, look to the east and see what I've got to work with. I have to start driving until I get to a clearing - at which point I can gauge how things are shaping up.

While not every morning has been great from a photographic perspective, there's nothing like looking out over the ocean as the sky begins to lighten and watching the lobster boats heading out for a day of work. And even if I can't make the kind of photograph I'm seeking, I might click the shutter anyway...taking a few snapshots just to capture the mood of the morning.

If you're not a morning person, you might not find the beginning of the day so magical. But for me, it's a great time. Being out there alone in the stillness of the dawn and watching the day unfolding puts things in perspective.


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