I tried to shoot the puffins. … as in photograph them. I made three trips. The first two were duds. I never saw a puffin. The boat to the island could not land. I chummed both times. Up and down, up and down, went the boat. Up came whatever breakfast there was. On this particular trip I was tearing across Maine at around 3:30AM to get to the boat dock. Ok, maybe a bit later. Dawn! This turns out to be the picture of the day! No puffins! I told you, I chummed. Wanna see? No? Well, then this is the sum and substance of that trip. It might not look too swell, but the work I put in to get to this pic is what makes it even more special to me. It’s never so good as when you realize later that the best picture of the day was the first.
Dawn. I’ve posted jet trails before. I’ve shot them a few times. Interesting. People traveling to and fro. From my vantage they are headed east west. We are a flyover zone. People are not staying, just going. It’s eerie. We are on lockdown – corona. It’s a bit scary that the planes are flying and potentially carrying corona with them. But, folks still gotta get around. We haven’t been out of the house in a few days since groceries last week. So far so good. (as of this writing two months ago) It’s also bittersweet. Had we no virus, we would be just about completing a second trip to Scotland now. Alas, plans were rewritten. I wonder how the past shall be. As Dave asked once long ago, “Dad, when is tomorrow?”
We were headed up the road to Wilmington. I got to ride. So, the passing scenery was fair game. It’s amazing how good the quality of the images is at high speed in poor light. Any image, at all, is fair. The first glow or the early morning fog are subjects rarely obtained by me. I like to sleep too much to be on the spot. But, serendipity beckoned. Voila!
… and a dollar short. January 1, 2019. First picture of the new year. 411,612 – 2003 to 2018. That would be the number of digital images to date that I have taken – give or take. I’m missing some iPhone pics to count. That’s a huge number. I’m impressed. To look through the archive would be daunting. I do look occasionally. In my alternate reality I realize that I have forgotten so many images. They remain as an historical archive of events and experiences in my life.
I’m alive and kicking. That’s a plus. I didn’t realize there are friends and relatives who follow my blog silently noting the passage of images and rants. I don’t really rant. Impassioned. I suppose I could do better. In the majority I am photographing the world around me. I feel fortunate to see the sunrise. I am frustrated because now that I can sleep all I want, I awaken far too often to see the sunrise. On the plus side I get some great images early in the morning. I guess I should have made it a point to take a first pic of the year and commemorate the moment years ago. It’s never too late…
It seems I am up too much and way too early. I have dreams. These days they wake me. Early morning color lasts but moments. In the time, it takes for me to grab my camera the light has already changed. Nonetheless it’s dramatic. I’ve missed a lot of sunrises in my life. Most days I don’t get morning glow like this. But when you see something this mesmerizing, It’s impossible not to take a shot. Priceless!
I try to take a picture every day. Yes, with a real camera. I pretty much follow my life this way. Lately, it’s rare for me not to pull out my camera wherever we are. Ah! Restaurants! Yup, I take pics of restaurants and the food. Goofy? Probably. Then again, I miss plenty too. I also get ribbed about taking pictures that my friends never see. (They don’t follow blogs, I guess)
We get really great sunrise sunset pictures in Delaware. The clouds change constantly. It’s spectacular most times when there are clouds in the sky. This morning is a case in point. Spectacular. One more? I can’t help myself. Yup, I took a few. Timing is everything. The peak sunrise color only lasts moments. Yes, you have to be up at that hour. Earlier in my life that would never be. I liked to sleep late into daylight. Not now. Hmmm, I don’t have a guilty conscience. Do I?
Before I belt in I have my camera on my lap. You never know. Gotcha! Yeah, you can get some interesting shots. Arresting. Be careful or you might be….arrested. But clouds never obscure your view of the sunrise or sunset. However, sometimes the clouds will help to make things more dramatic. You can’t get the shot if the camera is not in your hand. It’s ain’t photo lessons. It’s opportunity.
I hate to be up and on the road at dawn. But we were on a mission. So, out. I must say that the light was spectacular and worth the ride up the road to see what Mother Nature had wrought.
It’s dawn. I admit I am not up at dawn too much. And wherever you are it’s a plus to get a picture. There was fog on the road over the fields and the early morning glow was worth a shot as well. No time. We were on a mission. So, I settled for an image as we crossed the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Yup, it’s early. Sometimes there’s not enough time to stop. And sometimes you are there at the crossing just as the sun comes up. It’s a one way trip and the time you pass is not really planned. It was fortuitous timing to hit the bridge right at sunrise.
Airbnb rocks. Despite what you may hear from the hotel trade, there are some finds. I’ve stayed in hotels whenever I went to a meeting. The designated meeting hotel in each city is about the most expensive after you get discount. The plain flat has a bed and a bath. Been there done that.
And then I discovered Airbnb about two years ago. This time around we took an apartment in Chicago. The strategy is to stay in walking distance to the convention center or one of the meeting hotels. The hotel bus to the convention center is free. I shouldn’t tell this secret. Everyone will rent out space before I do. The apartment was on the 32nd floor. And the view? The downtown landmarks – see them? And it was the whole place including kitchen. I did not need the amenities of a hotel. The only downside was there was no closet space so we hung our clothes on the back of a door. With the view you see here, that’s a small downside. Oh, Chicago’s called the windy city. From up here it definitely was. I think you’d agree that the view at dawn is spectacular. Why? ‘Cause my time zones are still a mess coming from the Middle East. And, ‘cause neurosurgeons like to get up real early to meet in the morning.
I am not an early riser. And I am pretty lazy. I shoot images when they conveniently present which is to say that I will not get up, travel, and brave the elements to get a spectacular sunrise. However, I can readily appreciate one when I look out the window to check the weather. I usually have a camera close by. So there! Yes, yes, it would be a much better shot without all the distracting branches. Did I say lazy?
We were headed out at dawn. Otherwise I’d have no business taking this shot. Yes, it could be sunset but it’s not. And the open road was empty. Everyone else seemed to think it was good to be in bed this fine morning. So it’s a moving shot. I shot through the windshield again. There are only so many times I can stop before complaints begin. Besides the mission was to go from point A to B.
I recall this photograph. It’s a life lesson. The circumstance – on my way to see the puffins in God only know where, Maine. I had just purchased a brand new spiffy Nikon D200. It was the first event. I had to go from Lewiston to Cutler to pick up the ferry to the puffin island. I calculated a start out time of 3AM to get to the ferry by 6:30AM. It meant zipping up to Bangor on I-95. You can drive fast at that hour. Right off the exit ramp in Bangor I was stopped for speeding. Out of the complete darkness, the flashing patrol car lights caught me. When I told the fireplug short female state trooper I was headed to see the puffins, she ran my plates and then let me go with a warning. A nutcase from NY going to see birds shouldn’t receive a penalty if he’s already nuts. I have now driven to try to see the puffins three times. This time and the next were a complete bust. I saw better pictures in the travel brochure than I got with my new camera. We never got close enough but to see a dot on the water or in the sky.
After Bangor the road is smaller and winds eastward toward the coast. I was tooling along at as fast a pace as the deserted road would allow. Meanwhile I was hyper-attentive in anticipation of the birding. At the early glow of dawn I looked out over a fog covered valley as the sun was beginning to rise. Sunrise is rarely a time I am awake unless I am in an OR with an emergency.
I was running late. But I had to stop for this shot. The digital camera compensated for an impossible lighting scene. This was the shot of my day! It happened before my day ever began and I never knew it till much later. In fact it was a shot of significance. Thinking back and looking over many images I have taken before and since, I can make an observation.
Life happens quickly. I’m not the first to comment on this fact. But sometimes a special moment happens and you don’t know it. Later when you have time to pause and rewind the video – I play back some of the events of my life and finally realize how special this moment was. I knew this was a special shot right from the moment I pressed the shutter. But I was rushing to another event I thought was more important. It turned out that the moment of import was before me as the dawn rose over the fog in the valley. Well I was fortunate to preserve the moment to look back upon. My only regret is that I did not stop to realize it had been one of life’s special moments of which we experience so few in our lifetimes. It is not the first time I have done this nor will it be the last. But if I ever recognize such a moment again I hope I will sit back to savor it.
This is one I will not forget… ever. It was the sunrise of July 31. We’d (Lisa) been up all night long. Remember the photos at labor and delivery. This was the view overlooking the East River at dawn from NYU, University Hospital. I’ve been up early plenty of times. And I’ve been bleary and weary because of a bad night on call. But this dawn was pretty special. Of course I didn’t know labor would go from the night before, all day, and into the early morning of August 1. And of course this was the worst time to be delivering at a teaching hospital, even if it was my hospital. All the new students, interns, and residents just came on board on July 1. So it’s kind of like clowns on parade. No offense, I was once one of them. It just that it’s different when it’s your wife and first child. When David was born the obstetrician who showed up was named Ida. Ah, I exclaimed at 4AM, “I always wanted to name my kid Ida.” This got me a withering look from this bleary eyed doctor. Who names their kid Ida? “You know Ida as in Ida Ho.” Old joke. Bad joke. Bad timing.
As long as we’re talking names, David would have been Ivan… not a chance. But I almost named him Otto. I just liked the sound and nearly pulled it off until Lisa ripped the name paper from my hand as I bent to fill in his name. Four years later David and I had a conversation in which I told him my wish to name him Otto. “Just between us… when we’re alone… you mind if I call you Otto?” Four year old David sat for a moment, pondered seriously, and said, “But Dad, my name’s David.” That was the end of that.
I’ve done this shot whenever there is the opportunity. Usually it’s an early morning shot. In this instance David and I were on a mission to Al Waba. We left early in the morning and began to take a series of shots of the passing countryside. The clouds/mist/fog/smog hung over the mountains (hills) and, voila! You have to do a bit of cropping and you need to pull out the hills layered upon layer. But it works.
Well, I haven’t been out of town too much. But the nurses organized a trip to Taif and invited me. You cannot not go to Macca as a non-Muslim. So to get to Taif is a round about road. It’s slow… 80 miles, 4 hours. We left at dawn; it was still very dark. I was honorably put into the front ‘shotgun’ seat of the bus next to the motor and the driver. As the dawn lightened, I got the early morning light as it gave me an overlapping view of the mountains. This was shot through the tinted bus windshield, in poor light, and from a bouncing moving vehicle. You don’t always get a shot you can keep, but sometimes…
This darn camera got the moon exposure pretty good. Well, I did a little Photoshop work here. The moon came from the next frame. I just hadn’t cropped as well. Slipping it in here, it’s exactly where the other moon was, but not quite so well exposed. Otherwise I’m not too much for post processing. Life is spinning way too fast these days.
I am not an early morning person. Which is to say, that sunrise photos are few and far between in my portfolio. However, my calculations indicated that we were on a cliff facing east from our accommodation in Zanzibar. It was just step out of bed onto the walk and we were overlooking the ocean. So for several mornings the sunrise would awaken Julia and me. We would run out, shoot the sunrise, and then clamber back for another hour of sleep before breakfast. Yeah that’s about as easy as it gets. Oh, that’s the hotel’s infinity pool in the foreground.
I only got one chance to photograph the annual balloon festival in Lewiston, Maine. But since I lived in the area I could get to the venue any time the balloons launched. I had left the launch park and was driving to work along the river. I could see a balloon drifting above the trees. Yes, I wasn’t looking where I was driving. But traffic was sparse. I jumped out of the car in time to catch this image. Morning fog was lifting off the mirror calm river and the basket just about to touch down. The balloon pilots liked to do this to impress. I was duly impressed and got the shot.
Driving down the road heading east at sunrise. It could be that my wife was driving but in the corner of my memory, I don’t think so. Anyway, I say this because it’s easy to shoot going forward in a moving car. You can actually see where you’re going as you hold the camera to your eye. It’s a bit tougher shooting to the side. Of course with point and shoot, auto focus digital, this is not too much of a trick any more. Well, this shot is about sunrise, glare and powerlines. I shot through the windshield to avoid getting shot by my wife if I stopped once again.
I visited Springfield, Illinois. I had driven past in the dark once before. All around the highway area was a background hum of machinery. But, I’m from NY and jets flying overhead on the landing pattern to Kennedy and LaGuardia are just part of the background noise to city life. On this occasion I stayed overnight in a hotel nearby. The hum continued all night and was louder than the passing highway traffic. I awoke in the morning to the eastern sunrise and these factories spewing into the wakening dawn. Later I was told that these are power plants. Noisy!
A few weeks ago, I had been wakened by several early morning phone calls – hospital stuff. Abandoning the thought of sleeping till daylight, I found myself looking up to see a spectacular dawn breaking. The orange hues lasted mere minutes and I had bonus rainbow! This light is very precious, it occurs so infrequently. Maybe it’s because I am asleep at dawn most days, but I think not.
Gallery follows: (more…)
Shooting Star Resort. I’m not a fan of getting up early for the sunrise. But, as I get older I find that I often awaken early. Of course, it helps if you are sleeping on a bluff overlooking the ocean facing to the east. The sunrises were spectacular. A dhow might sail across the scene for interest and depth. In the lower corner is the reflection from the infinity pool. I just like the mood. Sunrise and sunset can be mistaken for one another because of similarities in the lighting. Rather than correct for the exposure I like the darkened foreground in this photo.