Sunrise at My Favorite Spot

Favorite Places

Do you have a favorite place?

I usually have a hard time picking a “favorite” anything. Favorite country, favorite animal, I even find my favorite color problematic! There though is an easy answer to my favorite morning…Lanikai. I exist in a world of movement. I am constantly going places, most of which I will never return to, but I keep going back to Hawaii and specifically back to Lanikai Beach. If I have the morning in Oahu, I will always do the same thing. I hike up the Pillbox Trail, then go and swim at Lanikai Beach. One day, I hope Pamela and I will live out my remaining days on Oahu, watching the most perfect sunrise, knowing, there is no place on this Earth we would rather be.

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Tokyo Sunrise

Big, Big City

The sunrise endlessly is interesting to me, it’s just SO incredibly difficult for me to get up for. There are two problems. First, I am not a morning person, though this is frequently aided by jet-lag. Hawaii is a great example…I am usually awake by 3 or 4 am easy. The second problem is breakfast. If you want to eat at the hotel (one of my economizing tips) you have a problem. Generally there is not a pre-dawn buffet and if you get out, it’s often difficult to make it back in time to partake of the (in my case) free food! Sure this gives you a great opportunity to sample cafe’s, but I tend to like to save that for an economical lunch (free breakfast, econimical lunch, then a dinner wow). This sunrise was captured from the hotel breakfast! Since I was on a really high floor, it was the perfect compromise!

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Beautiful Sunrise Kauai, Hawaii

Beautiful Sunrises

When I go places I end up being torn between sunrise and breakfast. Some of the most beautiful light is at sunrise and sunset. The secret is the hoards come for sunset, but sunrise is almost mine alone. The problem is that I get free breakfast at my hotel, but its time period conflicts with my capture of sunrise. Too often I get out early, but get caught up in photographing sunrise to make it back in time for breakfast! I always attempt to find balance in my trips, sometime the beauty of a place can easily makes me forget to eat, and too often I am so lost in the beauty, I don’t mind.

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Kauai Sunrise

One morning I followed the beach around away from the resort on Kauai and found this wonderful beach to watch sunrise. I met a WONDERFUL character who was here fishing and also photographing sunrise. We chatted about life and his feelings of Kauai and Oahu and discovered his family lives in Missouri…but that is perhaps another story (ask me sometime).

After parting with my new friend, I photographed a bit longer. I was so enamored with the sky, I forgot the importance of elemental balance, the ocean was all but too kind to remind me it too is a powerful force. I ended up completely soaked on my right side. I just got off this photo before yanking my camera to safety!

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Sunrise on Ponte dell’Accademia, Venice, Italy

Venice

To encapsulate my feelings of Venice would be impossible. Perhaps this discription from one of the must read books before any trip to Venice, Watermark (by Joseph Brodsky), helps in one sense:

A reflection cannot possibly care for a reflection. The city is narcissistc enough to turn your mind into an amalgam, unburdening it of its depths. With their similar effect on your purse, hotels and pensiones therefore feel very congenial. After a two-week stay—even at off-season rates—you become both broke and selfless, like a Buddhist monk.

This quote from the same text, however, gives another glimpse of the more wonderful feel of the city:

You fling the window open and the room is instantly flooded with this outer, pearl-laden haze, which is part damp oxygen, part coffee and prayers.

Despite its flaws, Venice in two quick days became one of my favorite destinations in the world. There is something wonderfully artistic, dark and oppressive all at the same time. It is though you stand at a precipice to another world in Venice, one that perhaps you don’t want to enter, but it exciting just to be there.

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Tiny Lighthouse on Lake Michigan

Where’s the Sunrise!

There is something to be said for trying. I took this photo the same day I took my Sunrise at Navy Pier photo one cold morning in Chicago. I had got up at 4am to take the train into the city to get this and it was clouds, clouds, clouds. I kept moving toward my destination…I was always headed for Navy Pier, and just as I reached the end of the pier, the sun finally broke though the clouds. I caught the whole thing for today’s photo. I sat and stared at what appeared to me to be a tiny lighthouse (it wasn’t really tiny) off in the distance. Despite the bitter Chicago cold, it was a good morning.

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Dawn Over Haleakala Maui, Hawaii

Revisiting Previous Works

Photography for me, is about exploration, experimentation and finding that photo in my mind. It’s how I recall my life…as photos. Some of the more magical moments are often hard to express. What I see, and prehaps more importantly what I remember seeing is very different that what the camera sees. Saturation changes based on the exposure, for instance.

Our technology despite being marvelous, is a poor substitute for what nature can produce and what our brain can see and recall. I tend to not go back to images or scenes unless they are completely different, but today, I am making an exception. The last dawn over Haleakala photo I felt was too saturated and I used a variety of new techniques to product today’s version. Tell me what you think, which version do you like best and do you revisit photos to work on them again?

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Sunshine on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy

Late Morning in Venice

I got up really early on a rainy morning in Venice to shoot St Mark’s Square when it was devoid of people. I was sick with my general post travel lung disease. I had returned home from Oahu, worked one day, then flew to Milan where I took the train to Venice. Once the sun came up, I found why many consider Venice one of the most beautiful cities in the world. This view is looking across the Grand Canal, the Doge’s Palace is to my back, I can’t think of a more wonderful way to start a sick day. If you go, just look out for the tourists!

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Sunrise from Lanikai Beach

Talking to Locals

If there is one thing I need to do more when traveling, it’s making friends with people who live where I am visiting. They know the best places to go! I took this fantastic photo of sunrise off Lanikai Beach one morning in Oahu. Later that day I went to check into my hotel and was talking about hiking and sunrise and the girl at the hotel checking me in said she had been hiking Lanikai that very morning. Wait…I was just there! In reality she was hiking Lanikai (mountain) up to the pillboxes while I was chilling on the beach. Regardless, the next time I am in Oahu I found yet another amazing location to catch sunrise! It just goes to show you being friendly pays off.

Pali Lookout Sunrise

Lookout

I have a hard time getting up before dawn, but it almost never fails that I wake up when I should. I have this strange built in alarm clock that rarely lets me sleep in these days. I always expect jet lag to throw it off, but somehow, I always wake up about the right time. One of the great things about Hawaii is that you can stay up really late and you end up waking up REALLY early. Since I am up I usually can talk myself into a sunrise or two…after all, photography is why I travel. This was one of the many wonderful weather days I had while on Oahu and sunrise was a sight to see!