Tuesday, February 9, 2016

31 Days of Sunrise

Just before the New Year I heard about this "31 Days of Sunrise" challenge on Facebook. I like to take pictures and I'm usually up early, so how hard could it be to take a snap of the sunrise every morning for a month? I joined the group, checked the time for sunrise on January 1st, and went to sleep dreaming of beautiful sunrises.

The very first morning I found out just how hard it could be! All these Caribbean islands that we are visiting have the anchorages on the West side and the sun is coming up on the other side. Hmmmm, what to do? The first day I caught the brightening sky over the low ridge behind Rodney Bay and submitted that.

The next day I stayed with it longer and waited for the sun to show itself, but it never really did because there were so many clouds. I got a nice photo, but I was beginning to suspect this challenge would be more challenging than I thought.


Some days there were so many clouds that I never even saw the sun. Some days it rained. Some days there was no color at all. And every day I had to deal with boats mucking up the foreground. Contrary to popular belief, not all boats are beautiful; especially when their mast is poking right into your sunrise.

To eliminate the boat problem, I took to my dinghy and got away from the anchorages, but new problems arose. The mother ship is always moving a little, but the dinghy is really lively and my moving camera made blurry photos.

Then I noticed how nice the other contributors photos were and tried to kick mine up a notch, but I realized that they have things like real cameras, tripods, and the ability to adjust aperture, shutter speed, and focus. I can't do anything like that with my cell phone. Sigh.

Many days I'd spend a half hour before and a half hour after the actual sunrise taking photos. Then I'd spend another hour going through sixty photos, comparing and deleting and editing. And always there was the issue of Internet availability.

A few magical days it all came together and I got some pretty nice photos. And although the photos are very rewarding, I realize that just getting out and experiencing each day's beginning was the best part of the challenge.

Being the first one awake, creeping quietly up on deck, listening to the frogs as the night slips away, seeing the cattle egrets glide across the anchorage from mangrove to pasture, hearing the first rooster crow, sharing cookies with the fishermen,  witnessing the birth of a new day; those were the real rewards.


My favorite sunrise had to be the one on Îles des Saintes because the Captain joined me and we rode a motor scooter to the east side of the island. The golden morning light reflecting on the sand was magical and sharing it with him made it truly special.

Towards the end of the challenge Marnie gave us suggestions like "Black and White" sunrise...
and "Self Portrait" sunrise...
but her best advice was to "receive" the photo rather than "take" the photo.

Thank you Marnie for a wonderful start to the new year and for hosting this (literally) eye-opening challenge.

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