I've never really liked to get up early in the morning, especially before dawn. I do it when circumstances demand, such as work, but rarely because it feels good.
But as all photographers know, there is a magical light that is only available right after dawn and just before sunset. It's often called the "golden hour." For photographers like me, we would prefer to specialize in the latter edition of the golden hour. Certainly it must be the same as the earlier version, after all, light is light. But an addiction to photography makes one do strange things, like get up early to photograph things and places that are only available during the "early edition" of the golden hour. If you're really addicted, then you do uncomfortable things just to see what happens. Thus, I arose early several days recently. I found out two things.
All "golden hour" light is not created equal. I can't prove it with a spectrograph, but it just isn't. It may just be my eyes, but the blues seem more delicate and the reds even more vibrant than at sunset. That alone is worth getting up for.
In the wetlands, animals start to move with the rising sun, and it is a good time to see wildlife. It is a hard time to photograph wildlife, as the light is dimmer than it appears to our eyes. But the dawn rewards another of our senses, our ears. Before the dawn, the sounds are soft and mellow, save the occasional pig frog's deep, resonant croak and the limpkin's chilling scream. But as the sun rises, it seems that every living creature, at least all the birds, celebrate the new day with sound, if not song. Standing still, behind my tripod, in the still of the dawn, I slowly become uplifted by the avian crescendo that peaks just after the sun separates from the horizon and takes control of the day. Almost imperceptibly, the chorus dissipates and becomes the background noise of another wetlands day.
by: Mark Pollitt
©2012 Mark Pollitt Photography
Photo taken at Orlando Wetlands Park, Christmas, FL