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…