The Way I See It

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Sunrise in the City

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Kerry Park, 20120205

Kerry Park, 20120205

It’s been a sunny, warm, weekend. I have some gear that I’ve been testing so I got up early yesterday (Saturday) and went over to Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill, to the quintessential “sunrise over Seattle” viewpoint. Got there with plenty of time to spare, picked my spot, and set things up. “Uh-oh,” I thought to myself as the sky began to lighten. On the horizon hung a thin band of thick clouds. They lessened as one glanced upwards and finally petered out at 30-35 degrees from horizontal. Clear blue sky overhead at Kerry Park and over most of Seattle but where it mattered most, the vital first rays of the new day would likely be completely obscured. I hung around nonetheless, hoping that a break would form. 7:08 a.m. came and went. Still only dull grays and blues. Oh well. At least I got in a nice chat with a gentleman named Craig, who was visiting from Oregon. “I’ll probably be here again tomorrow” said he. “So will I, most likely” I replied.

This morning rolled around. I’d gotten up a bit late and hurried over there. “Morning” said he. “Good morning.” He pointed towards the horizon with his chin. “Doesn’t look good.” I concurred. Again we hung out, chatting about photography and life, hoping but not uttering the hope that somehow, good fortune would intercede. Not on this morning. We bid our adieus. As I drove home, I thought about how fortunate I was to be a sunset photographer. Before deciding to head out, I have the luxury of seeing the Western sky (from whence most Seattle weather originates) out my front window. From the city, there is a live webcam that I also check. Finally, there are the doppler radar readings. Sunrise photographers have almost none of these luxuries. They have to be ready before the first light hits the skies. They are essentially at the mercy of whatever that light reveals. I wondered if I could ever make sunrise photo shoots a regular habit.

And what of the image? It is from a more fortuitous outing not long ago. That’s the Space Needle and downtown Seattle in the foreground. In the back rises a snow-clad Mount Rainier.

I rationalize these past two mornings as putting in my time, as payback for the numerous 1-for-1 mornings with which I have been blessed. Or perhaps they are a deposit paid on some future jaw-dropping sunrise. 😉

Photo Notes
f/8, 1/15 second at ISO 200. For this image, I decided to expose for the liveliness in the sky, while leaving the structured forms of the buildings in near-silhouette. This image is very much what came out of the camera…I only applied a bit of tone mapping to accurately reflect the variety of colors that I witnessed that morning.


Written by xinapray

March 25, 2012 at 6:54 pm

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