Sunrise at Chesapeake Bay

I’ve caught Peter Lik’s “From the Edge” show on The Weather Channel a few times recently, and have found it to be a good source of entertainment, amusement and inspiration. I’m not sure I’m completely sold on Peter, but he certainly is a character — and his show comes across as some strange photography-centric mutation of The Crocodile Hunter, chock full of energy and Australian hubris tempered with childlike joy and unedited wondrous observation. It can be a little over-the-top at times, but I always manage to pull something worthwhile from an episode. Usually, it’s just the opportunity to see beautiful locations in beautiful light, and to hear Peter explain very unabashedly how it feels to be out there in it, capturing it in camera while overcoming the inevitable challenges that manifest along the way.

I also continuously find myself amazed by Peter’s work ethic. The guy definitely puts the work in to get the photos he captures. He’ll spend all day hiking through harsh terrain to find the right spot to capture at dusk. Or, camp all night in order to be ready for a sunrise photo on location. It’s not unusual for him to hike for hours in rough terrain and bad conditions to get that unique “gallery” shot he’s seeking. Most often, those shots take place in the magic hours around sunrise and sunset, in the slim windows of unique light that bookend each day.

As much as I’d like to avoid that truth, watching Peter’s show, above all other inspiration and motivation, reminds me that I need to put the work in if I want to capture better landscapes. This means being willing to get up at ungodly hours, seek out locations, and work toward making the photos I want to make. All things equal, I’d much rather stay in bed and sleep in — so I definitely need more doses of this kind of motivation.

Last weekend, I put this motivation in action. I made the effort to get up at 3am and drive an hour to the Chesapeake Bay to capture the sunrise over the water, silhouetting the Sandy Point Lighthouse and an early morning fisherman. I like the images I came away with — but I don’t love them. I still need to continue working and growing and bettering myself. But, what I love, is the fact that I got up and made the effort to be out there in the morning, before the sunrise, making those efforts at growing and getting better, and taking the time once in a while to look at the beauty of nature all around — outside of the viewfinder.

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