- Arts and Design
Sunrise at the Beach
Join me as I Photograph the Sunrise at the Beach
Photographing the sunrise is a favorite subject for many photographers, and I am no exception. Whether you are a beginning photographer or an experienced professional the sunrise always seems to add an unique quality to a photo. I have photographed the sunrise from my home, but it seems like I am more likely to photograph this daily scene when I am on vacation. I particularly love the challenge of photographing the sun rising over a body of water.
On this page, I will share my experience of photographing the sun rising over the Atlantic ocean at Juno Beach Florida. The beach has a long pier that I thought would make an interesting subject to add depth to the sunrise photos.
I invite you to take a few minutes and experience the sunrise at Juno Beach through the eye of my camera.
photos by mbgphoto
Before the Dawn - wake up early to catch first light
We had just changed to daylight savings time the day before and I wanted to make sure I woke up early to get to the pier before the sun rose. I think I first woke up at 5:30 and decided it was way too dark, by 6:30 I decided to hop out of bed and get dressed for the drive to the pier. We arrived at the Juno Beach Pier a few minutes after 7 and I looked for a good place to set up my tripod. I wanted to be ready when the sun first rose.
I decided on a spot just south of the pier and set up my tripod. The light is great for taking photos in the predawn time and I took several photos of the pier and the waves. The waves were quite tumultuous on this day and I thought they would be great for my photos. The photo above is one of the first shots that I took. I had my camera set at A (aperature priority) with a F5.6 setting.
Sony Alpha 57 - great SLR camera
Sony's Alpha 57 is the perfect camera to get just the right shot of a beautiful sunrise. I used several of the different settings on this camera to take my sunrise photos. On some of the photos I set the camera to A (aperature priority) and then let the camera pick the best speed and ISO settings. When I wanted to be sure to catch the wave action, I set the camera on the auto setting for continuous shooting and captured the waves in 12 frames per second.
This camera is great for taking those gorgeous sunrise photos. It has a multitude of automatic and manual settings.
First Light - sun over horizon
While I was waiting I moved my camera and tripod several times trying to find just the right spot to take my photos. After I set up and took a few shots I waited eagerly for the sun to rise. Just after 7:30 am I was rewarded with this first glimpse of the sun over the horizon.
Tripod Essential for Sharp Sunrise Photos - Sunpak Tripod
When you are looking for a tripod you want one that is sturdy and one that is easy to use. My previous tripod was sturdy but it was a bit complicated to set up, particularly when I hadn't used it in a while and kept forgetting how to get the camera attached. As I looked for a new tripod, I wanted one that would hold my camera still but I knew if it was not easy to use I would tend to skip using it. On a friend's recommendation I bought the Sunpak 6600 and have been very happy with the tripod.
It was reasonably priced and fit my criteria of being sturdy and easy to use. I can pull out the tripod, adjust it and attach the camera in seconds.
I used the tripod for all of the sunrise shots at Juno Pier. I feel a tripod to be essential to getting sharp sunrise photos. At the end of this page you will see one photo where I had the camera off the tripod. I think you will agree that the photos with the tripod are much sharper.
Almost There - beautiful sunrise
In this photo you see the sun almost above the horizon. I love the way it looks like it is sitting on the ocean.
Floating above Ocean - a beautiful ball in the sky
Here the sun is above the horizon. Doesn't it look like a giant ball floating over the ocean?
Peaking above Pier - sunrise at the pier
After I took a hundred or so photos of the sun rising, I decided if I wanted to get a good shot of the sun and the pier I would need to move to the north side of the pier. I walked under the pier with my camera and tripod and found a good spot to set up on the other side. In this photo you see the sun comes through the slats on the pier.
Above the Pier - last in series
The joy of digital photography is that you can take hundreds of photos and just delete those you don't want with no extra cost involved. I took about 200 photos during my shoot at the pier and then I took my camera off the tripod and was getting ready to put it away. I took one last look at the pier and decided I wanted to take another photo, so this last photo was taken without the tripod. Although I think it is a good photo, it is not nearly as sharp as the photos above that I took using my tripod.
Products from my Photos
I enjoy creating products from my photos. Here are several that I made using my sunrise series of photos.
This notecard features three of the photos, one each on the front, inside and back of the card.
As you can tell by this page, one of my favorite subjects in the sunrise. I never tire of finding new places to photograph this daily scene.