Getting up for the dawn … really getting up … not just getting out of bed, going to the bathroom, then huddling back under the covers … means I’m going to take pictures. At home, the eastern sky is blocked by the trees. Though I’ve occasionally shot a few pictures of the sun between the trees, there’s no clear sky anywhere to really catch the dawn.


So, up for the dawn inevitably means I’m on vacation. Probably somewhere in New England because mostly, that is where we live and also where we spend our free time.

96-Sunrise and Sunset-EmilyDickenson

The last time I intentionally got up for the rising sun was Ogunquit, Maine. We were staying in a little resort a few blocks from the beach. An easy walk. It was September, so sunrise was still pretty early, in the five o’clock region. Garry is an admirer of the dawn, but not a willing participant in any activity that forces him out of bed before he is good and ready.

Busy Beach Pre Dawn

Thus that morning, I had set the alarm for four. It was still dark. I dressed, grabbed my gear, and headed out. No time to waste because dawn is fleeting, over almost before you have a chance to focus your camera.

Dawn Flight

It was a short walk to the beach. The sun wasn’t up when I got there, but the beach was far from empty. There are a surprisingly large number of people on the beach before sunup. Humans include runners, strollers, and veteran dawn watchers … and I suppose a few photographers. I didn’t see any others, but surely someone besides me had a camera.

75-dawn gull-nk-1.jpg

And birds. Big black-back gulls, laughing gulls, terns and plovers. It’s breakfast time by the water’s edge.

I started shooting as soon as I arrived, the mist still lying heavily on the shore. As soon as the sun started to work its way up, the mist vanished. From pre-dawn glow to full light is no more than 10 minutes, likely less. I took as many pictures as I could, then went home for coffee and something. It was a great early morning shoot.



NEW DAWN – Daily Prompt

Categories: Beach, Nature, Photography, Summer, Sunrise, Water

Tags: , , , , , , ,

35 replies

  1. This is a great post so thank you for sharing this. I loved your interpretation of it, it means a lot somehow. To me, it is very awakening and liberating. It’s very interesting how almost everyone took to write about the sunrise instead of the new dawn which is technically an earlier event. But those pictures made me look forward to witnessing this renovating experience again. Lovely.


    • You are so far the only person to actually recognize the difference between dawn and sunrise. I guess you have to have been awake at that hour often enough to see that the light comes and then a while later, the sun. Thank you for commenting. I’m glad you liked it 🙂


  2. Sunrise is such a meaningful moment in our day. I like it when I get to be up somewhere special. You got me with Ogunquit of course.


  3. Wonderful photos, made me want to get back up there. Love the coastline in Maine. Great post 🙂


  4. It’s interesting noticing the differences between the right coast & the left coast. Of course the sun rises in the east and then makes its way across the country. Thank means we get the sunsets off the ocean, not the sunrise. The sun sets here behind the spires and giant rocks that jut out from the tide. If you position yourself along the shoreline just right you can get a halo brought on by the sun slipping away behind one of those spires. It’s beautiful, resembling a giant candle for a short time.

    Our seagulls are all white here, straying far from the coast in parking lots and back yards within 75 miles of the Pacific. Just be aware of the bomber gulls. 🙂


    • When we vacationed on the Vineyard — an island — you could catch sunsets if you were on one of the west-facing beaches. Otherwise, though, sunsets are hard to see, always hidden behind something. I wouldn’t mind a little more late in the day action!

      White seagulls. Just one kind of seagull? We have at least three plus a bunch of terns and plovers. The laughing gulls — the grey-backed medium sized ones that you can see hovering over garbage dumps all the way to the mid-west (these guys get around!) are the most aggressive. The bigger, black-backed gulls are less pushy and are less common, but beautiful.


      • Admittedly I’m no expert on seagulls. I just have photos of all white ones. I remember living in New Jersey the black backed ones would fill parking lots.


  5. Wow. 5 a.m. is really early, man. I guess it may just be that I am of the teen category, and with that, its the privilege of wanting to stay in bed all day. But maybe I should start taking Dawn more seriously and try to capture the day’s first light. Of course I live in good ole’ dry Texas, USA–hardly compares to New England. Thanks for the constant awesome pictures and posts!


    • It IS very early, but sometimes, it’s worth it. When you live on the east coast, sunsets may be hard to see, but sunrise is easier since the shoreline faces east. Beaches are great for sunrises. No buildings to block the view 🙂

      Maybe you can find a stretch of open ground with an unobstructed eastern horizon? Lacking an ocean, that’s your best bet.


      • Yeah I have a nice view of houses and trees to block me, but traveling is always a possibility. I am planning on interning for a lady who has a photography studio this school year so I hope it goes well.
        I did go to the Galveston beach, but it was for vacation, so I didn’t really want to wake up even though I would have had a BEAUTIFUL sunrise.


  6. Beautiful pictures! I wish I could be close to the beach to enjoy those views.


    • We aren’t near the beach usually. Only on vacation, which is, I suppose why vacation there when we can. I’m not much of a beach bunny, but I love the ocean, the smell of the salt in the air. And the sunrise.


  7. Beautiful photos — the first dawn photo on the beach really captures that moment when day does not seem really sure about what it wants to do. I love morning.


  8. Beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing them. Me and the hubs are on different time clocks too. I get up way earlier than he does, but usually when the sun hits my window rather than before the crack of dawn. He’s still snoozing away until noon unless he’s working.


    • I think I lost the ability to sleep really late when I became a mother. My body went on Alert and has stayed that way for 45 years. I’m a little better now, but mostly, when morning comes regardless of how late I was up, I’m awake. Not, at least, before dawn anymore.


      • If I sleep in past nine, I’m sick and literally cannot get out of bed. But yeah, being a mom definitely makes one need to get out of bed early.

        Then again, I worked swing shift (and graveyard shift) for a long time too, so that played merry hell with my sleep cycle. ^_^


        • After being full time Mommy, I became long distance commuter. And in high tech, where the day usually starts no later than 8 and often, I would come in earlier to get some work done before the endless non-productive meetings started. So I’d be on the road before dawn. At some point, I just reprogrammed myself.

          I work hard to sleep later these days, especially since I am such a late stayer upper. You can’t keep going to bed at past 2 am and getting up at dawn. Especially when you’re trying to recover from heart surgery. But no matter when I go to bed, unless I’m drugged or terribly ill, I’m up by 9 or 10. I may not get out of bed right away, but I’m awake. Usually wishing I weren’t 🙂


          • Last time I lived here in WA, I commuted to Seattle via ferry. After a year of that, I decided I didn’t like it. 🙂 In the summer it wasn’t so bad, but in the winter it was up in the dark and home in the dark. ugh! But sunrises and sunsets (spring and fall) from the ferry were pretty spectacular. I wish I had your photography skills, then I’d have something to show for it. 🙂


  9. Too many years of pre-dawn work calls earn me the right to sleep late except for brief scooting furry kids out for their early constitutionals.


  10. Some great photos.I definitely think Maine would be my thing. Just to add Mr. Swiss is a late to bed and early to rise guy . so work that out. I don’t now how he does it, although he does sometimes fall asleep in front of the TV in the evening. He won’t admit it, he says he is resting his eyes.


    • Men have a unique ability to watch TV through their eyelids. Enviable. Useful too. They can watch movies while resting their eyes. Wish I could do that.

      I am not early to rise any more, but I am earlier than he is. I don’t seem to need as much sleep, which is, apparently not rare. Probably Mr. Swiss is one such. I wish I could sleep longer, but my body isn’t interested.


  11. Really lovely, and worth the effort! I hope Garry had pancakes waiting for you when you got back…. :o)


  12. Pretty spectacular! Worth the early morning rise.


  13. I’m usually up with the sun… except in high summer. It seems a more natural rhythm.
    Beautiful photos!


    • I used to be up early every day, but my husband is a late to bed, late to rise guy. I re-booted to his rhythm so we could spend our awake hours together. I still get up before him, but no longer at the crack of dawn. I do most of my writing before he gets up for the day. Works out well.


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