June Lake Sunrise


Another 445AM alarm.

I went to bed the night before expecting to wake up to clear skies and intended to drive north and get into one of my favorite drainage's and use the early morning light to my advantage.

Just before my alarm went off, I was having a reoccurring dream where I am stuck in a casino and I can't find my way out. Rescued by the bell, I happily silenced my alarm and rolled out of bed in the darkness and cautiously made my way to the wall switch.

As usual, I put water on for coffee and oatmeal, dressed in my base layer and went outside to take a peek. I had to blink a few times in order to clear the lingering sleepiness and make sure that my mind wasn't playing tricks on me. There were clouds in the sky, thin textured beautiful clouds! Clouds to the east and glorious clouds to the south as well! Holy shit! I just witnessed my entire day get rearranged in a fraction of a second!!

There are three beautiful lakes all within 10 minutes of where I was currently standing. June, Gull and Silver. Without hesitation I chose June, because I had not photographed there yet on this trip and the lay of the land offered up some nice sunrise possibilities.

At 530AM I was standing lakeside savoring a nice mug of a medium roast black coffee made from freshly ground Arabica beans from Kenya. The perfect complement to my frequent companion that is the darkness that comes just before sunrise. It's the kind of darkness that is calming for one heartbeat and can be full of unsolicited panic on the next beat. I can't tell you how many times falling rocks, running deer or the screech of a passing owl have scared the c**p out of me in these early morning hours.

None the less I willfully accept these possibilities in exchange for the potential awesome gifts that the beginning of a new day may provide.

A little before 6AM I began playing and experimenting with ISO and shutter speed. This is how I like to pass the time until it's time to get down to serious business. Every now and then I took a quick sneaky glance up at the eastern sky hoping that the clouds were still in place and hoping even more that I did not jinx myself out of a good sunrise.

Somewhere around 620AM I noticed two things: First, the temperature was dropping and my hands were getting cold. Second, there was a real possibility for a nice sunrise. The second made the first a little more tolerable I concluded as I worked my way along the lakeshore in search of a couple of nice sunrise compositions.

I made this photograph at 644AM. I chose a vertical composition because I wanted to include a lot of water (reflections) and sky.

I rotated my camera into the horizontal, recomposed and made this photograph at 649AM. Lots of real pretty colors starting to appear.

This is what was starting to happen just behind my right shoulder when I made the previous photograph. When I saw what was going on I simply rotated my camera and waited for the light to get just right. 6 minutes later at 655AM I released the shutter. CLICK!

I spent another hour here wandering around and working the light. What a morning. Worth dealing with the spooky blackness of the early morning.

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