As a photographer I love to share my images and the stories behind them. The downside of being a photographer is that it’s almost impossible to stop looking for photographs to shoot, especially when I travel to new places. On my first trip to the Cape Cod area last year, I had one early morning that the weather cooperated enough for a sunrise shoot.
I had the beach to myself as a northeasterly chill in the air kept everyone else away. Arriving about 30 minutes before sunrise during the blue hour, I could see a thin strip of clouds just above the ocean where the sun was beginning to cast an arc of warm, yellow light above the Atlantic.
Sunrises and sunsets are mesmerizing to me. It appears that the sun rises and sets so fast when our perspective includes the horizon. Obviously, the Earth rotates at the same speed all the time, but only as the sun nears the horizon do we see how quickly it appears to move. The perfect light for a sunrise or sunset can last just a couple of minutes before the light is just too bright in the morning or completely gone in the evening.
In this image, the clouds helped shield some of the sunlight that was pouring into my lens. Clouds can add elements that enhance the sky.
Wishing there had been something to frame in the foreground to make the shot more interesting, I was about to leave. The sun was getting higher in the sky, and the wind was picking up. Just then I heard something to my left. At first I thought I had missed a dolphin surface to blow out air as it exhaled. But as I watched, I realized it was a pod of seals.
Cape Cod has two types of seals — harbor and gray — that can regularly be seen along its coastline and in marinas. Due to the distance away and the apparent size of these, they were most likely harbor seals.
They were moving quickly, so I took the camera off the tripod and jogged down the beach as they dove and resurfaced. I was able to keep up with them for about 30 yards. I watched them resurface twice in the reflection of the sunrise. The encounter lasted less than two minutes, but it was my favorite two minutes of the day.