The agony and the irony

I am not a morning person. So. Seriously. Not. A. Morning. Person. Never have been.

When I was a kid, and I had to get up for school, my mom would have to lead me by the hand to the bathroom and splash cold water on my face before I could function at even a minimal level.

Later, when I was all grown-up, and I worked in a job which required a long commute to be at my desk at 8:30 AM, I had to get up at 5:30. When I got to work, I wasn’t very productive for the first few hours, and really hit my peak productivity when it was nearly time to pack up and go home.

I envied the sunrise and sunset photos taken by other photographers.

Then, when I learned about The Golden Hour, that hour after sunrise and before sunset when the outdoor light bathes everything in a warm, golden glow, I appreciated how beautiful photos taken during that time were. And I so wanted to catch that beautiful light in my photographs.

But while sunset and the golden hour that preceded it were something I could do, getting up early to photograph the sunrise and the golden hour following it…uh-uh. Not so much.

I often had good intentions: on a Saturday or Sunday, I’d get up early, drive an hour to photograph sunflower fields lit by golden morning light; I’d get up early, drive to the Chesapeake Bay, and photograph the sun coming up over its waters; I’d photograph the pristine snow that had fallen overnight, before the sun turned it to mush.

But when the alarm went off, my body would ask yell, “Are you kidding?!” and then I’d turn off the alarm and go back to sleep for a while until I really had to get up.

Then, I found out some photographers were going to the Patuxent River on a Saturday to take sunrise and early morning photos. The weather forecast was for warm, beautiful weather. Once again…good intentions.

However, this time, I actually got out of bed when the alarm went off at 4 AM. 4 AM! My body moaned, “Noooo. What are you doing?!” But I didn’t go back to sleep. Yay for me! And then I packed my photo gear into my car, and I drove, in the dark, first down the highway, then local streets, then finally dark, unfamiliar country roads. (How did I ever manage before GPS to drive on unlit country roads, especially unfamiliar ones, where, if there were street signs, it would be too dark to read them? I don’t remember. I assume it just wasn’t possible, and no one did it.)

Eventually, after driving down a long narrow gravel road, I found my fellow photographers. It was almost sunrise. Just enough time to set up the tripod and camera. I’d done it! I was ready and excited to take photos of the sunrise and the golden hour that followed it.

Then the sky and landscape below it started to get light. And this is what I saw:

Morning mist along the Patuxent River.

Morning mist along the Patuxent River

Pretty pastel mist, but not exactly what I’d expected.

And it stayed foggy through the golden hour. And the fog wasn’t golden. Or pastel. Just gray hiding the river and surrounding landscape.

Mother Nature can be so darn tricky.


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