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The Edge of Dawn at the Ranch House Café

I was north bound on Highway 395 racing the light in order to get in position for a sunrise shoot at another pre-visualized location when I came across this opportunity. I have passed this location many, many times in the early morning light but never have I considered stopping (always in a hurry to be somewhere else.) But, on this morning I felt a special attraction. I also knew that if I stopped and made the effort to photograph here, I would be giving up my sunrise opportunity a little further up the road.

After a few quick seconds of pondering, I decided to give this rural café a try. I slowed to a stop in the middle of my lane, backed up a couple hundred yards then pulled off the road and parked on the muddy shoulder (the result of recent rains.) With my back facing the fenced in pastureland I set up quickly and made a few test shots. Checking exposure and composition. At this time of the morning slight changes to the natural light can have a big impact on your shot. I made this photograph right on the edge of dawn. I like how the pale early morning blue sky helps bring out the graphic details of the ancient trees behind the café. I also like how the soft blue exterior lighting of the café mimics the morning light and how it also enhances the warm color pallet of the interior lighting. To me, I think this photograph has a little rustic holiday feel to it which is probably why I like it so much.

Before I began to breakdown my gear I paused for several long seconds. Savoring the peaceful silence and stillness of the spicy cold early morning air. Standing motionless while gazing across the highway at my chosen subject. I was admiring the simplicity, the rural setting and the changing light. I was feeling appreciative that I made the decision to photograph this subject on this morning. I was also feeling thankful for being gifted by my Lord with the passion for finding beauty in such unlikely of places. Then I began to wonder just how many other beautiful photographic opportunities I have driven by without a second thought. That thought put a temporary pause to my thinking. That’s when I realized that I need to slow down and be willing to deviate from Plan-A a lot more often. Plans X, Y and Z can be just as, if not more rewarding than my pre-conceived Plan-A.

With this photograph I close out 2022 and wish EVERYONE a Happy New Year!


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