What an Early Fiery Sunrise Taught Me About Color


Early in the morning, the sun came up and the sky was very blue.

On the first day of August, I awoke before sunrise, though I’m unsure why. I decided to make the most of this unique opportunity and impulsively grabbed my camera and headed out. After all, photography is fun, but photography at 6 in the morning is better. The morning light is quite different from any other light of the day, but photographers rarely have the ability to witness the sunrise due to their late-night post-processing of images and occasional insomnia. This was a special opportunity indeed.

Luminous Beam

This time I headed back down to where I photographed some rainbow rocks in the year prior. The colorful pebbles by the river were still there, experiencing no passage of time by the narrow river that snaked through the forest. As I arrived, the sun was just beginning to peek over the treetops in the distance, and I knew a celebration of light was about to begin. If you think about it, a sunrise possesses an ironic duality. Visually, a sunrise is a celebration of light, but it can occur in a perfect inaudible vacuum — in perfect stillness. This morning was one such morning.

As I walked out onto the small pier, I was surrounded by a quiet stillness.

The golden orb of the sun began to rise over the mist that hung over the water, creating a dreamlike sensation in the air. The water played and frolicked with the light, and both seemed happy to witness the sun giving birth to yet another day. The water was so still that it created a perfect mirror. Above this mirror, the fiery sunrise haloed some strangely-shaped clouds in an electric orange light, giving them an otherworldly quality. I called them venus clouds.

And then, just as quickly as it began, the #MagicHour of sunrise was complete.

Color is Power

Luminous Clouds

That August sunrise taught me a lesson about color. I learned to never underestimate the raw power of color. Color is visual energy capable of arousing intense emotion, and what color you choose to portray has an effect on what emotion is aroused. Instead of relating the exact true color of this sunrise, I decided to express the feeling of this sunrise instead. For this photo shoot, I shifted the colors on many of the photos toward a magenta hue and some were ever-so-slightly shifted toward an orange hue. By harnessing the power of color, these photos are much more visually compelling than their originals, and I hope you enjoy them.

Each of these photos captures just a tiny fraction of a moment in time, but a moment is all the time you need to capture the essence of a feeling.


Photos from this trip are in this album. All photos can be used as widescreen desktop wallpapers because they are high resolution (1920×1440).





4 bits on What an Early Fiery Sunrise Taught Me About Color

  1. Pingback Just Write Blog Carnival October 3, 2008 Edition - Incurable Disease of Writing
  2. This is a wonderful and insightful piece – people underestimate the power of color every day, in the rooms they live in, the car they drive, and the clothes they wear. Color affects personality, mood, and has an ability to communicate with us in ways we aren’t even aware of. Your photograph is lovely and communicates your message beyond words. Well done, and thanks so much for sharing.

    Nacie Carson´s last blog post..Covers, Titles, and Design – oh my!

  3. Thanks, Nacie! I’m glad you enjoyed the article and the pictures.

    That’s a good point. You can expand this to clothing, appliances, everything. I recently realized I never want to wear all-orange shirts again, they just don’t seem right for me anymore.

    Chalk another point up for awareness. 🙂