Lucky Sunrise

If you’ve seen me give a night-photography program, you know I’m a big proponent of being prepared. Indeed, with night photography, that’s the name of the game. You don’t just walk around at night with a camera looking for photos. You go out with the shot already in your head and you create it.

Blue Ridge Parkway sunrise

Foggy sunrise from the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. This is an old film shot, probably taken with a Nikon F3 and Fujichrome Velvia film.

With sunrise and sunset, it’s a little different. As long as the sun is below the horizon, you’re staking pictures at night, but the element of luck is much more a part of the equation. The preparedness part of the equation is simply that you got yourself and your camera there. After that, it’s a matter of hoping for good light.

Blue Ridge Parkway sunrise

Foggy sunrise from the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. This is an old film shot, probably taken with a Nikon F3 and Fujichrome Velvia film.

One morning back in the 1990s, I was shooting sunrise at a location I had been to many times, but on this morning, I got lucky. A fog bank moved in at just the right time to take on the colors of sunrise without blocking them. It was, and remains, the best the sunrise I have ever witnessed.

Blue Ridge Parkway sunrise

Foggy sunrise from the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. This is an old film shot, probably taken with a Nikon F3 and Fujichrome Velvia film.

I haven’t shown these photos in several years. Right after I shot them, the response was mixed. I think a lot of people thought they weren’t real, that I had created the colors in Photoshop. Heck, at that time I didn’t know how to do such a thing in Photoshop, even if I wanted to. The truth is, for one of the shots, I even toned down the colors from what the original slide showed because I thought it looked just too unreal.

Blue Ridge Parkway sunrise

Foggy sunrise from the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. This is an old film shot, probably taken with a Nikon F3 and Fujichrome Velvia film.

I doubt I’ll ever experience another sunrise like this. But one thing’s for sure. I’ll keep getting out there, hoping to get lucky yet again.

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