I was out at sunrise the other day. One minute the sky displayed a full spectrum of color. The next it was dark and intermittently I was pelted with rain. It had stormed overnight and it was low tide — the perfect combination for a treasure trove coughed up from the sea. The birds love it. So did I.
Tag Archives: Sunrise
There is pleasure in the pathless woods,
there is rapture in the lonely shore,
there is society where none intrudes,
by the deep sea, and music in its roar;
I love not Man the less,
but Nature more.
I remember learning about literary epithets when studying Homer in the ninth grade. We only read a condensed version of the Odyssey, but we were lectured heavily on literary terms that few 14 year olds care about. “Swift-footed Achilles” was easy to remember because I knew what an Achilles Tendon was; it was easy to associate Achilles with the swift-footed and to use it as an aid for understanding the literary concept our teacher was trying to pound into our brains. “Swift-footed Achilles” was my mnemonic for remembering the mnemonic literary device. But, it was “rosy-fingered dawn” that captured my imagination. I didn’t believe that I had ever seen a “rosy-fingered dawn” before and was sure that something that sounded that beautiful could never be found on my part of the planet. Still, as an admirer of sunrises and sunsets, it didn’t take me leaving my teen years far behind before I had a visual memory to tie to a “rosy-fingered dawn.”
I woke this morning hearing my husband gasp. I was barely registering his voice but the urgency in it brought me quickly out of deep sleep. I’m glad that it only took a few more seconds to realize that the gasp was not one of horror, but one of awe. Looking out the window towards the east, we could see this:
Looking towards the west, I could see the pink trails racing towards the horizon:
My photographs cannot do justice to the beauty that was this morning’s sky, though I tried. It was only about 40 steps to retrieve my camera and return to the window. In that brief span, the light had already shifted. A few quick releases of the shutter and the right “light” was gone; the entire sky was quickly illuminated with yellowish winter light and rosy-fingered dawn had fled to another day.
From photographs taken in Venice, September 2013
I love shooting sunsets. I’m never quite satisfied with the images I make, so I keep trying. Since every sunset is different, there is always a reason to keep trying to capture that perfect image.
Sunrise, though, is a different story. Why? Because the sun gets up much earlier than I do! Still, on my last day of vacation, I decided to stumble out of bed, grab some coffee and my tripod and head towards the southeastern side of the island. I thought I could get a cool shot from the west side of a bridge, looking over the bay towards the mainland. When I got to the bridge though, it was clear that I should have checked my coordinates and where the sun would be rising. I knew that the island was not positioned towards true north, but I didn’t expect the sun to be off towards what I generally think of as west.
I headed further down the intercoastal road. In about a mile, the road curved left and I realized that the sun was once again “back” where I thought it should be — quickly rising in the east over the estuary. I had just enough time to set up before it poked its early bird bright yellow self over the mangroves.
Linking up again for Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesday. Today’s theme: use at least one layer of Kim’s texture Minus43. She named this texture for the temperature the day she created it. Based on the name, it doesn’t seem right to use on a photograph taken a warm sunny day where the mercury “dipped” into the 80’s. But, it was perfect for this image.
I started by combing two identical shots, taken at different shutter speeds, in Elements using the PSE feature for combining based on exposure. After a little additional reworking (like removing a pesky, ugly hi-rise building on the other side of the water), I applied Minus 43 with a blending mode of Hard Light, Opacity 50%. I copied this layer, again at 50% & removed it over the mangroves. I didn’t think that looked quite right, so I changed the first layer to Multiply, 40% & combined both layers. I copied it — again! — Multiply 15% and combined all layers. I added a pink tint (Hard Light, 20%), then added Kim’s texture 1301 as an Overlay at 25%. I removed most of both these layers, keeping only a portion over the sky, then merged. I copied the merged layer (Mulitply, 25%) and removed most of it leaving a somewhat rectangular darkened area framing the photo. Added my signature and Voilá!
I thought that this was an interesting image without the texturing, but I also had fun adding it, giving the image a softer look. The sky reminds me of a watercolor done with a slightly dirty brush. The texture also added a bit of green — which was good, but I lost some of the pink colors, so I added the pink tint. The combined exposures also made the water a little too blue. It looked like swimming pool water! So, adding the textures and the pink helped to bring the water back to a more natural looking shade. Although it took me a lot of playing around with various settings and masks, I like the end result.
Here is yet another shot that I took the day before Thanksgiving. It was a foggy morning, and while I had lots to do to get ready for my extended family’s holiday, it was more fun to walk in the woods and get muddy taking photographs of the fog rolling along the creek, and then burning off as the sun rose.
I’ve taken lots of photographs in the past year along this same stretch of the greenway path. Here is a photograph I took last January at the same spot. You can’t tell from these photographs, but several large branches have fallen off the tree in the foreground during the past year. Although the light is different, I’m guessing that these were taken at about the same time of the day, with the sun burning off more of the fog in the January shot.
So here we are at the first of February and I find myself wondering: Is it too late for New Year’s Resolutions? Should I have done something more specific?. But then I realized that I have accomplished a lot in the last 31 days, even if those things may not seem significant to others. On Jan 2, I wrote a post regarding my goals for the year, which can be summarized by the following list:
– Write — finish that novel!
– Read — something other than blogs/internet
– Shoot — take at least 1 photograph daily.
– Walk — this is part of a training program; more on this later
– Take note: find something beautiful, wonderful, awesome, out of the ordinary or just makes you smile.
– Be Grateful. Every.Day.
– Be Kind. Every.Day.
How did I do?
PHOTOGRAPHY: I took over 4000 photographs when I was in Florida. I was astounded when I realized the number. But, there were many that I knew, as I was taking them, that they would not be “keepers”. Instead, they were experiments intending to help me learn. Sometimes I would take 4 or 5 shots, making slight variations in shutter speed, aperture, composition to better understand what would make a “good” shot. My intent was that I would choose the “best” and delete the rest. I still haven’t deleted many of them — reviewing all of them when I downloaded each evening was just not always possible. But, it is still my intent. Already, I have learned a great deal, including discovering the “sweet spot” on two of my lenses and also understanding some of the idiosyncrasies of my camera’s built-in light meter. Overall, as I moved from using the semi-automated settings (e.g, TV or AV) to full manual, I learned to better judge what was going to work. I found that my the end of the month, if I shot something that I thought was going to be the “best” settings, and then shot in AUTO, I could guess what my camera would use as the settings. Furthermore, I began to predict successfully when I wouldn’t LIKE those automatically chosen settings. This is one of the most valuable learning experiments I’ve done since I received my DSLR 2 years ago. FUTURE: I need to not only invest a quite a bit of time in backing up all of the shots I’ve taken, but I need to spend hours going through all of them, studying what worked, what didn’t work, and being judicious about what I keep — there is no point in keeping things that aren’t examples of good work.
READ: I finished 6 books, listened to 2 audio books (completed 1, abandoned the other), and started 3 other books that I should finish soon. Ah, the joys of a “flop & drop” vacation where you have plenty of time to read! Maybe that audio book count should be 3 — my husband read enough of the Steve Jobs biography that I feel that I listened to the abridged version. I may read it myself; parts of what I’ve heard of it was fascinating, parts infuriating.
WALKING: I — by the length of a toe, I think — walked 60 miles in January. Keeping a log has proven to be very helpful. Also, having a visual of what I’ve done helps motivate me to keep up with it. My specific goal for February is 75 miles.
NOTICING: You bet, I did! Making an effort to have my camera with me every day helped this. Even without the camera, though, I was always finding something interesting to look at on the beach, or when walking in the mangroves and swamp preserves. The real challenge, though, will be to keep this up now that I am back home. It is always easier to find interesting things when you are in a new environment; finding them in your everyday surroundings, where so much blends into a blur or a background noise, is much more challenging. Be sure to check back at the beginning of March to see how I did in February on this one.
GRATITUDE: I think that I did a good job on this. However, it is so easy to take things for granted, to not notice. By the end of the month, I was forgetting to make a specific observation of something that I was grateful for. Did I fail? Of course not! Can I do better? I’m grateful that I can try to be!
KINDNESS: Well, I sure hope that I was as kind as I good be. But, like gratitude, it is so easy to stay within our comfort zones that we don’t make an effort to do an act of kindness when we can. The opportunities, while not hidden, are just not seen by us. Again, something that I can work on! I won’t go into details here on some obvious deviations for this. Deviations? What am I saying? I should say “times when I obviously FAILED, choosing NOT to be kind”. Were there some? Hell, yes! I’m not trying to become perfect. But, I think being aware that you are striving for kindness makes one more aware when you have NOT been. Always good for a course correction!
WRITING: Well, yeah, that didn’t happen. Not.One.Word. And that’s ok for now.
So, what is ahead for this short month of February? More of the work of these major areas. I am also considering a month-long “experiment” of some sort. I have a few things in mind and will be writing about them in the next few days.
If the eleven months flies by as quickly as this month has, I’ll be welcoming 2013 before I can catch my breath! I’ve been running 50 mph with my hair on fire today. Though I don’t usually look as such things as portents, perhaps this morning’s sunrise held some fiery clues as to what sort of day lay ahead.
Mostly out of habit, or perhaps in recognition that it is a core part of my being — even if only in theory and not in practice — I say that I am not a morning person. I’ve always disliked that call to leave the shadows of slumber and venture into the dawning world. There is nothing more jarring than an alarm clock; yet I cannot awake without one when there are schedules to keep. And so, reluctantly, I inhabit the mornings, although frequently the better spirits of my nature take a few more hours to awake to the world.
But, some days, despite my reluctance to stretch before the sun has legs, I am in tune with the slow waking of morning. It is on days like this, when the night shadows of the trees have yet to go to their day retreats, and the warm glow of the sun hits upon the tops of the leaves, that I am glad to have been awake as the night flees and the day comes on.
The streams of lights, and the columns of shadows are my favorite at this time of day.
Even inside, for a few minutes, the morning light casts interesting shadows.
The morning light fades quickly, leaving full light, remarkable in its own self, though not as quiet.