Another day, another dawn. Yawn.

Not every day, but often enough, I get a nice sunrise to photograph. Yes, I keep a camera on my desk. It is special because the clouds come along in full color like this only once. It is never the same and never repeats but always the same color palette.

Point and shoot. My camera does the heavy lifting and sets the settings automatically. Cheating? Lazy? The lighting can be difficult to get a proper exposure. How does it do it? Magic.


It started with a fiery dawn… And then I shot a big transport plane making a training landing – from the car as I drove down the highway. Don’t do this at home kids. Dead thing? The vulture had a go. There, choose your picture of the day.

Point and shoot. I mostly just let the camera do the settings. Yes, it ain’t professional. No control. Do I need it? I let fly. And even thru the car window. The others were thru the windows of my home. Ha ha. Every year Colleen has the window washer come. It pays to have clean windows.


You need context. A single shot of a chicken does not a story make. I am parsimonious. How can I not be? I was raised poor. No! I was never hungry, cold, or forced to sleep without heat. Yet, we were middle class and I always felt the edge of the budget envelope. Poor I was not.

You need that extra picture to provide background and to tell the story. Why am I reluctant to shoot a useless picture? Simply shoot a title shot for the day’s activity. I did. I guess. Anyway, I know where we were. So, the chicken has context in the end. But, yes, even now, I try not to shoot pics that are wasted shots. I have plenty of those without doing it intentionally. And yet I need context! By the way, I never particularly enjoyed getting up early. Maybe the clouds were the sunset from the day before?


It’s cosmic dust. Really!?! It’s what coalesces to form stars. It’s a mere two light years away? Spectacular! In the face of the universe and awesome, I am humbled. There is too much light pollution where I live to capture the stars at night. I gave up the attempt long ago. I dabble in an occasional shot of the moon. We have a beach cam. I sign in to get a shot of the dawn. Most mornings it is too cloudy or no clouds – boring, mission failure. Webb telescope: forecast – cloudy today.

New Trick

You cannot teach new tricks as you drive along. Do not try this at home!

I saw the sunrise behind us as we drove along. I could see it in our rear view mirrors. Colleen does not know how to manually focus my camera. I could not teach her on the fly. She tried. We failed…from her side mirror. I was a bit more successful from my side. It is a matter of knowing where you want the camera to focus and then doing it. Got it? simple!

It’s not as easy as it seems and Colleen is definitely not at fault. She simply had never tried to manually focus the camera. And I suppose she did not understand the subject at hand was the sunrise. Plus, the lighting was extreme contrast. And… You need a bit of experience. And luck! I got it from my side.

Helping out

Dawn. Great light. Maybe!? The right moment? Can my camera capture the moment as I see it? All good observations and questions.

Ok! The camera has trouble focusing upon clouds. No contrasting lines help to define a focus point. Set the focus point on the trees or something at the horizon. Exposure. The scene is dark and the meter tends toward overexposure. Metter the sky to increase the saturation of the morning color. Finally, cheat. Use Lightroom to increase vibrance and saturation. It might just look like what you saw at the critical moment.


Why? There always seem to be obstructions or telephone lines in the way of my promising cloud pictures. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities elsewhere. And on occasion there is a sunrise or sunset to assist. In this instance the early morning sunrise picture was modified by blurring from the rain on my window. The effect is sometimes sought via a lens filter. In this case my window provided the filter blur for free.

There’s nothing special in the technique or advice. Carry a camera. Use it. And do not hesitate to shoot thru glass be it car or home. I guess there is not much to be said for telephone lines and traffic. I would prefer to always avoid a traffic jam. Ha ha. I have a camera on my desk. I usually have one on the dashboard of the car.