Capturing a sunrise

 When it comes to getting up early, I’m somewhat of reluctant at the best of times.

I’ve got two young kids, I work full-time and I take on various other photography assignments through-out the year. So, with no shame at all, I can safely say I value my time in bed, very, very highly.

With that though, comes a problem. One thing I love to do, is to photograph the sunrise. For me, and for the light, I feel it’s the best time of day.

Provided the weather is good, Mother Nature treats us all to the best light show everyday. The trouble is, everyone is usually in bed, including me for the most part.

That said, at the right time of year, I do find that the opportunity to capture the sunrise, does present itself for those of us who are too lazy to get up too early. And that time of year, is now; the winter.

With the late sunrise at around 8:00am, it’s a lot more practical to get up early enough, get dressed, grab your camera bag and head out. And with a bit of planning, the process is even easier.

So to help anyone who might be interested in capturing a sunrise, I have prepared a small list of things to consider.

1 – Prepare your gear

The obvious thing to do is ensure your batteries are charged and your cards are formatted. I find doing this the night before saves a lot of heartache later! It’s also worthwhile deciding on what equipment you want to bring with you – cameras, lenses, tripods, filters etc.

Traditionally, a lens that can capture at the wider focal range might be preferred.  That said, if you are capturing an image that has a vast view point, you may find a zoom lens will work in your favour. 

Personally, I settle for something like a mid-range zoom, such as the 28-70mm, and try to get the best of both worlds here.

2 – Know your location

Decide on where you want to go. You need to factor in the time of the sunrise and the duration of how long it will take you to get there.  The last thing you want to do, is get there too late. 

Allow enough time to have something to eat too.  If all goes well, you could be there for some time, so make sure you’ve had a coffee and some grub.

Additionally, you will need to know where the sun is rising – so, a map is your friend here. The sun rises in the east, so look for locations that are looking out towards this direction.

3 – Check the weather

Naturally, it is advisable to check the weather too, because if it is raining, you might wish you’d stayed in bed (or not, some people thrive on capturing storms!).

Don’t be afraid if the weather is a bit cloudy, as there is still a chance to capture some dramatic shots with the sun breaking through.  And if there is a touch of mist, this will work to your benefit.

Also ensure you have suitable clothing.  Winter mornings can get pretty chilly and waterproof shoes are a must, especially if you are out in the countryside!

Richmond Park