Before the sun rises
Winter here in central Alberta started off being one of the best I can remember for landscape photography. We were treated to a few weeks of very special weather. Lots of freshly fallen snow. Hoar frost that seemingly lasted forever. Mornings of thick fog with the low angle of the sun extending the shooting time to almost noon. It was great.
Then came December. Kind of okay. January. Blecch! January was almost a whole month of gray, white sky days. The snow was looking old. The frost had long since left the trees. The Alberta prairie looked featureless.
Here we are in mid-February and winter looks like it might be winding down. I know better than to think that this is the end of the white, fluffy stuff. We’ve had too many Marches where there have been blizzards dumping oodles of snow and creating serpentine drifts across the prairie.
I still have plenty of photos to process from the good days. Giving yourself some distance from your photography is always a good thing. It’s easy to look at something that you have just photographed or processed and NOT see the photo for what it really is. Our memory of taking the picture strongly influences how we see it. Ever notice how your favorite photo looks different to you two or three years later? It usually doesn’t look so good? That’s what I’m talking about.
The photos that I keep coming back to lately are the photos taken about half an hour before the sun has risen above the horizon. It’s an almost magical time. The light is softer. More things are hidden than are revealed. The light is quieter if that makes sense.
Mornings are arriving earlier by the day. During the shortest days of the year the sun was rising around 8:45 a.m. That would allow me to get up when I pleased and still be up for sunrise. Today the sun rises almost an hour earlier and a month from now another hour earlier.
Pretty soon we’ll be heading into the longest days of the year which means being up around 4:0oo a.m. to get the same kind of light. Then I won’t be photographing whites and blues but instead greens. Spring is around the corner and so are the early sunrises