When Sunrise is a Bust

October 09, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Morning light. Box Elder County, Utah.Morning light. Box Elder County, Utah.Sunrise over the Wellsville Mountain Range.

This morning was a holiday for my wife but not for my daughter in school. This made it a perfect morning to go out and shoot some sunrise photographs. Checking the weather last night I could see that not a cloud in the sky was to be expected. Oh well, hope springs eternal, so I planned on getting up about 5:45 a.m. because sunrise was at 7:30 a.m. and I would need about an hour to drive to a place I thought would give me good views. Disappointment, waking up, there were still no clouds. Still I just couldn't miss this rare chance to to get out before dawn so I left to see what pictures I could find.

Checking the app, The Photographer's Ephemeris, which tells me at what time and in what direction the sun will rise on any given day, I started out for my planned location in the farm fields a few miles west of the small town of Bear River, Box Elder County, Utah. I end up travelling down a number of unpaved county roads and finally reached my planned location. Disconcertingly I heard gunshots in the distance all around me. Oh yes, it's hunting season. Hearing no shots though too close to me I drove up and down the length of road I was on looking for where to set up my Sony A6000 mirrorless camera and my tripod. This is challenging in Northern Utah because all the rural roads are lined with tall grasses bounding the farm fields. But with my excellent quality Sony e-mount 18-105 mm G Master lens all I needed was a place with fairly low grasses and a good view both towards and opposite of the sunrise. Opposite because knowing the sunrise would be a bust I wanted to shoot the light reflecting off of features opposite the rising sun. I last found what I hoped would be a good spot and stopped.

Looking at the image above it's easy to see how bland the sunrise really was. Turned it to black and white because the color was so blah.

I noticed however that close to my current location another dirt road crossed some railroad tracks. Next to this crossing were some grain silos. Their steel surfaces were beautifully gleaming in the suns rays. These would turn out to be my keeper images.

Morning light. Box Elder County, Utah.Morning light. Box Elder County, Utah.


Now I headed home but I still kept my eyes open and en route came across another subject that caught my eyes in the early morning light. It was a tall pile of gravel used to refresh the railroad bed. Here in a land of mountains was another artificial mountain reflecting the light of the sun.

So was sunrise a bust? Well it would have been great to have some clouds to catch the light of the sunrise in the sky, but the photographs I ended up taking sent me home with a warm feeling -- even though I was frozen through from the 30 degree fall temperatures.

So next time sunrise looks to be a bust in your region, go out anyway and see what photos you can make in any light that you find. 


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