Chincoteague Island, Virginia, USA

I had followed my usual plan for shooting sunrises while visiting a national park in Chincoteague, Virginia.

  1. During the previous day, while exploring and spending time with my wife, I was keeping an eye out for possible locations to shoot a dramatic sunrise.
  2. As I found potential spots, I would check the Photographer’s Ephemeris® app to see when and where the sun would rise in the current location
  3. Before going to bed, I prepped my gear, set it by the door.
  4. I set my alarm for some ungodly hour to allow for travel and setup time.

Step 4 is where I screwed up. While I did set it for 5:15… it was for PM instead of AM.

When I finally opened my eyes at 6:15 AM, I lay there for a couple of minutes deciding if I even wanted to try to salvage this excursion or just roll over and sleep a bit more.

The sunrise was rising at 7:15 AM. By the time I hiked to the location, it was 7:35 AM. 

It was a chilly morning, with low, fast-moving clouds that completely covered the eastern horizon blocking any hope of seeing the sun.

It was a grey and washed-out morning. There were no splendid colors. There were no dramatic shadows. Just a pale sky and a dark horizon.

I pressed on, set up my gear and began to shoot the horizon that caught my eye the previous day. As I watched, I began to see some interesting patterns to the clouds as they blew past the trees. As I snapped a few frames and took a quick look on the screen, I saw the potential for an interesting black and white composition. I kept at it for another 10 or 15 minutes until I felt I had wrung all I could from the scene. 

I spent the rest of the morning walking through the park, enjoying the quiet and solitude. When I looked through the raw images later that evening, I saw what has become one of my favorite shots of 2017. 

One thing I’ve learned over many years, when you think getting a good shot is hopeless, with a little perseverance something good will usually appear worth shooting. Works in life, too.