Dawn in Napa brings the kinds of landscapes, with layer upon layer of hills and fields and trees, that I associate with prints of impressionist oil paintings scattered around the average home in the late twentieth century.
When St. Lawrence’s newest dorm, Kirk Douglas Hall, was designed, its dramatic glass bridge was brought into alignment with the Avenue of the Elms and gap between Richardson Hall and Gunnison Chapel. When the sun rises over the North Country landscape, I am drawn to the focused geometry of the landscape. (And glad I awoke to fly my quadcopter.)
Time zones are a source of confusion and consternation (seriously, they’re insane to deal with). Jet lag can be surprisingly disruptive. There are some temporal challenges to transcontinental (not to mention intercontinental) travel.
But sometimes the time zones align and travel makes waking at dawn trivial. To get a view of the San Diego skyline with the perfect mix of lighting and color, and with minimal sleep deprivation, was a treat.
Waking up early at the Fairmont Olympic means peaking out the window to a contrast: the blue sky says day has begun, but the sodium-lamp-lit streets say night continues. The tan brick and window frame provide a logical grounding point for the viewer, placing you directly into the otherwise-fantastical scene.
My co-author is the true Seattleite, and I began to understand the appeal of the place when I spent time there for a wedding this weekend. From atop the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, the view of uncanny Rainier Tower complements the wee cars in the streets below. Dawn is the time to gaze down the canyons.
I’m down in New Haven, CT for a conference—a great opportunity to shoot a classic American east-coast city, you say? But my camera is doing double duty shooting horses this weekend! What is a photographer without a camera (and with a lovely view of New Haven in the morning from the top of the Omni Hotel) to do? I’m not the biggest evangelist for iPhone photography, but in a pinch (and with the help of a handy bracketing app), it’s possible to account for a lot of the device’s shortcomings and produce photos that can transmit at least a degree of the desired effect. For the ubiquitous “multitool in your pocket,” that’s pretty good.
Rising before dawn (and posting shots of buildings taken from slightly below and to the right) seems to be a recent trend for me. When I struggled out of bed to shoot a Saturday morning horse show on St. Lawrence University’s campus, I had the opportunity to capture the predawn North Country roads. No HDR, no fancy post-processing here (beyond some simple noise reduction). I present a quiet Saturday morning moment that captures the whole “stuck in time” 1980’s vibe of northern New York. You can almost hear Bruce Springsteen tracks playing in the background.
Rolling over in a strange hotel bed, in an an unfamiliar city, at 5:30 AM: not the time most conducive to photographic adventure. Seeing these dramatic clouds over Mirror Lake, and their drastic shadows, was enough to get me moving. Still, I ran into a problem rare on the west coast: it was so much warmer and more humid outside that I had to work quickly before the lens fogged.