Sunrise comes way too early for me in the summer. So early, that it usually keeps me away from the NJ shore and in my nice comfortable bed. The best light appears for only about an hour in the summer – the sun rises so quickly that by 7:00 the best light is finished and by 8:00 it’s fairly high in the sky and very bright and contrasty.
I made it a point to get down to one of the shore towns at least once this summer. Timing is tricky, since I obviously would like a perfect sky to reward my efforts. Too many clouds prevents the sunrise from showing, and too few makes the sky too bland. Although it’s impossible to guarantee such perfection I do keep one eye on my schedule and the other eye on the weather report in order to maximize my chances.
This past Saturday the forecast for cloud cover was just about ideal – 30% or so cloud-cover was predicted. As I was zipping down the Garden State Parkway at about 6:00 AM I could already see that the clouds were looking very nice – the pre-sunrise sunlight was illuminating them nicely. But I was running about 20 minutes late. After I pulled into Avalon and parked on 33rd Street I hurried to my planned position along the trail to the beach passing through the dunes.
The sun was rising just as I set up my tripod and I then started taking a series of shots. The clouds were beautiful, the color was wonderful, and to top it off the were no airplane contrails cluttering the sky. Some mornings the sky is filled with contrails, which can detract from a photo, but there were none this morning.
After capturing the sunrise I was able to make good use of the low, warm light to photograph the life-boats and lifeguard stands on the beach. I feel like it was a very productive and rewarding photo shoot, which does not always happen.
Website: Photography by Matt Schrier