I have always been one to plan a shoot when possible, sunrise in particular requires some additional effort to ensure you don't crawl out of bed at the crack of dawn for nothing. Having said that we all have some planned locations in our heads just waiting for the right conditions. That is what happened to me last week when I awoke very early and decided to take advantage of the situation by capturing the sunrise.
For some time I have envisioned a sunrise shot of a lake about 90 minutes from home, it has a long wooden jetty and a bird hide at the end which would make a nice foreground and leading line. It's in the middle of the prairie with no obstructions to the glorious red/orange light of dawn and would provide the obvious reflection that completes the image.
So, bags packed and away I go, picking my way through ice covered roads in absolute darkness. I'm already imagining a shot of the stars and potentially the milky way as the clear skies twinkle overhead. When I reach the gated entrance to the dirt road that leads to my chosen location, it's locked, I had made absolutely no plans for this.
I failed to check if the lake had seasonal opening, I failed to check for a secondary shoot location 'just in case' and I failed to allow enough time to find a second location. As I stood in the darkness looking around I wasn't hopeful and seriously considered driving home empty handed, but that's a long way for nothing.
I opted to continue driving east in the hope of finding something to shoot. I know little of the area and as I drove along searching I saw the colour appearing on the horizon, I had to find something. Suddenly I came across a dirt road off the main highway with a long view of a tree lined driveway, it's not much but it's something. So, as the sun rose and the morning light filled the prairie skies I set up on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere with the 70 -200 mm and fired off a few frames.
I knew it wasn't a great image, and I knew the framing was 'off' but I had resigned myself to the task rather than miss the light entirely. It was, as it always is, fantastic to be out watching the sunrise and though I didn't make much of an image I did make something so decided to share it.
Lesson learned you might think, but we all know I'll be making this mistake again at some point in the future.
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