In The Early Morning Maine

It has been almost six weeks since I “left” my job.   It still feels strange, but really freeing that I don’t have to go through the old routine, the commute and the same daily grind.  I have a new ambition and drive with my photography and it is exhilarating to think of the options and places I could go.

3.45am is now a fine time to wake up, so I got up, put coffee in my little flask and hit the road up to Maine.  I wanted to capture sunrise over Nubble lighthouse which is a wonderfully scenic place.  I had visited for sunset a few weeks back but to get the drama it seemed sunrise could be more eventful as the sun rises right behind the lighthouse.  I looked on the ephemeris to see where the best point to stand would be and checked if there was likely going to be a decent colorful sunrise (skyfire in The Photographer’s Ephemeris).   Sunrise was at 6.45 but I needed to be there for blue hour and civil start was at 6.15.  I took me almost 80minutes to get there but the drive was a breeze.  If only the traffic could always be like that!

It was dark when I arrived so I donned my headlamp and clambered down the rocks and went close to the water’s edge.  What a thrill that is to have the power of the ocean so close with waves crashing a few feet ahead of you, so alone yet empowered.  I can try to capture this sense on film (showing my age?).  For anyone who wants to do this, one word of warning is to not get too close.  These waves can be quite powerful.  My wife always warns me to very careful because the camera is expensive (!?)

Anyway, I set up with the moonlight and headlamp to help me see and try to find a suitable composition.  I move around quite a lot when I arrive to find what will and won’t work depending upon how and where the waves are and what the light ends up offering.

It was clear when I arrived and I even managed a 2 minute shot where the stars trail.  As sunrise approached a dark cloud very quickly started to move overhead and behind the lighthouse and I was worried that I wouldn’t get the sunrise I had hoped for.  The dark clouds at the same time as the sunrise gave a very peculiar series of pink dots in the sky which looked like it had recently contracted the measles, then the color went back to grey.  As the sun started to rise (not visible to me as it was behind the lighthouse) the colors became very dramatic and I was moving from spot to spot along the rocks to find the most dramatic location where I was not going to get washed out to sea.  I like to be close to the action and the waves were crashing around my feet.  On one occasion it was more powerful than the others and I had to yank the tripod from the rocks.  When I looked up there was a woman getting shots of me in the waves.

This was the shot I took moments before that.  What a rush it is to take shots like this, to look at the camera and know the light is captured, the motion of the waves is caught.  It’s worth getting wet feet for moments like this.

Nubble Lighthouse, York, Maine sunrise

Canon EOS 5D MKIV, ISO 200, 1 sec, 17mm, f16

For nice wave motion effects it is down to the length of the exposure.  One second seemed like it was working with these rushing waves so I adjusted my Lee filters (small stopper and 0.9grad) with the ISO to get a balanced exposure on the histogram with a 1 second shutter speed.  This was one of the 500shots I took that morning.

This is what I want to do!

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