Catching Sunrise

“It is 5:05 AM. You are catching sunrise. If the sun hasn’t risen or is there already, it is okay. Just take a photo. You are free to choose locations.”

So that is the sixth topic for our photography challenge. I came up with this topic to later find out that 5:05 AM was too early for the sun to rise in both New York City and Belgium. Realizing that the sky was still too dark for any pictures, we decided to take initiative and modified the 6th challenge a little bit to “catching sunrise”. Anytime we want, as long as it was the moment of sunrise.

The reason why I came up with this challenge in the first place was because I felt guilty. I am not a young person who is self-disciplined enough to wake up early (except for school). Thus, with an unquenchable curiosity (that I hope would never die even when I become older), I always wonder: ” What do I miss in the early morning? Will my mood turn out different if I start my day earlier? Does sunrise look different each day? Is the atmosphere more healthy?”

Now, I really need some sympathy from you. Waking up late is my guilty pleasure. Weekend and summer are the time when if I don’t have any work, I will probably open my eyes at around 10 or even 11 AM, when the radiant sun has already risen high on the sky (it is bad, I know). It is like a never-ending cycle. And I can never tell myself to go to sleep earlier.

Doing this challenge after days of procrastinating, I wasn’t disappointed.

Sunrise is probably the best moment of a day, in my opinion.

It was hard to discover where the East was among so many houses and buildings that blocked the sky’s view. It was difficult to find an open area that would allow space for taking a nice picture of sunrise. I guessed the direction of the East  two times wrong.

It was mesmerizing to witness the moment the sun shed its first light of the day.

2014-09-07 06.49.28

2014-09-07 06.58.33

This next photo was taken by Cu. It is interesting to see how the colors of sunrise are different in two places. Kudos to her for setting alarm clock early for many days in the hope of catching sunrise, but always being hindered by dark sky, irresistible blanket, failed attempt, weird dream, etc. She really did invest more in this photography challenge than me and I really love all of her photos.


These are some photos we took before for this challenge:

1. Speed

2. You thought you would never take a photo of this.

3. Colors of the wind

4. 1000 steps

5. Tales of 1001 nights


7 thoughts on “Catching Sunrise

  1. Here is an variation on your challenge: morning twilight. It is a magical blue sky about 15 minutes before the sun breaks the horizon. But if you can’t stand the early hour, there is a similar effect about 15 minutes after sunset. The landscape photographer Galen Rowell called twilight the “Magic Hour.” You’l need a tripod or some kind of stable platform to keep the camera steady for a slow shutter speed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now you say that, I realized the “magical hour” that I witnessed but missed the name. Actually, on that day, I waited for 30 minutes before the sunrise. As desperate as I was to see the sun, I was mesmerized by the colors of different areas in the sky. I took out my phone to take a video of the scene. It was, however, of bad quality because I didn’t have tripod to keep it steady.

      I am also concerned about whether I can use a Tripod in NYC. I heard from some people that I need to be a professional to use it, but I can use a monoport instead.

      Anyway, thank you so much for commenting. It is great to know more and learn more!


      1. When to use tripods is always an issue in a big city. But I have been able to use mine on a number of occasions in NYC. Substitutes, such as a flat stone wall, a bench, etc. can also work. There is a product called Gorillapod that is small, cheap, and quite versatile that will work with smartphones. If there is no guard or official around and the location is uncrowded (typical in early AM) you can usually get away with a tripod. If someone stops you, just be polite, apologize, and fold it up. I get stopped about once a month in Washington, DC but they are always nice about it.

        Liked by 1 person

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