A few days ago I went out to shoot a sunrise with a couple of fellow photographers which re-enforced to me how important it is to ‘be there’, even if you think the conditions don’t look promising.
The forecast for the morning seemed to indicate there would be a chance of fog and about 20% cloud cover. With that in mind, a location was agreed and we headed out in the early hours of the following morning. We arrived about 90 minutes before sunrise, took some test shots while we waited for the predawn light to start.
Over the next hour the clouds began to grow quite heavy and the chance of fog completely vanished. Though the conditions weren’t anything like what we were expecting, we stuck it out to see what would come when the sun actually rose.
The clouds grew heaver still, yet the breeze died and the lake seemed to turn into a mirror. So we each set about trying to capture the reflections of the mountains on the water and the rocks at the lake’s edge in the pale pre-dawn light.
It was at about this time that the top of the mountain opposite us lit up red like fire. Well, it goes without saying there was a sudden flurry of photographic activity, lenses being changed, shutters firing, etc.
This beam of light moved down the face of the mountain and spread to the trees below along the water’s edge. The sun behind us was peeking through the gap between the land and the clouds creating a horizontal beam of light that lasted about six or seven minutes.
While we all came home with other shots, we’d been there for those few minutes of magic light and were able to witness (and photograph) a chance event.
The thing to remember is:
Sometimes we don’t get the conditions we expect and we have to look for alternative shots or styles. Sometimes we have to just wait and see what happens. But, it’s almost always worth being there.