Getting up before dawn

Fire and Water
This is the right time of year to get up before dawn and take photos of the sunrise. The sun is rising later as autumn approaches, but we haven’t shifted the clocks back to compensate yet, and the pre-dawn air is still not too chilly. The last two weekends however it was pouring with rain, so I caught up on sleep instead.

Not today, however! We got up at 05:10, gulped down enough food to tide us over until a proper breakfast, and drove out to Dee Why beach and ocean baths. Traffic is really good this early on a Sunday morning! We arrived just before 06:00, a good half hour before sunrise.

Although ocean baths are very photogenic, the problem for dusk photography is that all the ones in the Sydney area are lit by sodium lamps. The ghastly yellow colour plays havoc with your colour balance. I took a few shots with the pool and surrounds in the foreground and the dawn colours on the horizon, but the better shots largely skip the areas close to the sodium lamps. Undeterred by this challenge, two other guys had arrived even earlier than us and were staking out prime territory with their tripods and cameras. As the morning progressed, we gave each other nods, but didn’t stop to chat – there was much more important stuff to do!

After a while, as the sky turned on a gorgeous light show, the first swimmers began to arrive. It’s almost always retiree-aged people who hit the water at the crack of dawn. That’s pretty cool. When I retire, I’m planning to take a sunrise swim every morning. If I’m not out taking photos that is. Because dawn really is the best time of day to take pictures. The light is wonderful, and somehow it always feels fresher and more vibrant than a sunset at the end of a day, when the light is kind of worn out. I know that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it’s true – for some reason sunrise just is more beautiful than sunset. Anyway, it’s good to get out and exercise the shutter finger a bit. As with everything else, I never have enough time to do all the photography I want to do. But sacrificing a sleep-in for a sunrise is well worth it. More photos from this morning here.

After the sun started climbing into the sky, we headed to a nearby cafe for the decadence of a bought breakfast. To me, breakfast is a simple meal you eat at home. The idea of going out and buying breakfast still smacks of overindulgent luxury to me. Which is why I enjoy it on the very rare occasion we do it! Mmm… poached eggs, bacon, hollandaise sauce… And by 08:00 we’d finished this excellent breakfast, witnessed a gorgeous sunrise, got some exercise, taken some (hopefully) good photos, and we still have the whole Sunday ahead of us! Getting up early rocks!


One Response to “Getting up before dawn”

  1. Jesper Haglund says:

    Just had to chime in to agree about the whole dawn being great for taking photos thing. Of course, being Swedish and working nights (dragging a bicycle through waist-deep snowdrifts for 4 hours is not fun), I’m usually nicely tucked into bed well before dawn arrives this time of year. But in the summer… if I could count the number of times I’ve gone down a certain hill and seen the local river stretch out – mist slowly rising from it, and cursed myself for not remembering to grab the camera when I went out.

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