early wake up fail

So, I found this really cool spot along a rocky coastline where a sunrise shot will be amazing. The only problem is, no sunrise. Apparently, Wellington New Zealand is known for it’s unpredictable weather.

Every morning the weather has been uncooperative with foggy or overcast skies. Every day at 5:30am, I’ve been getting up to check the conditions. This basically consists of me stumbling out of bed and looking out the window. If I like what I see, the plan is to hike down the side of the mountain, through the woods, along the beach, then onto a sharp path over a ridge to the eastern coastline, about a 1 – 1.5 hour hike. So far, there has only been one morning with good sunrise conditions.

And where was I?

Well, 5:30am rolled around, I got out of bed, looked out the window, thought about hiking through the woods alone in the dark, and decided to sleep in instead… I’ve been kicking myself every morning since.

sun location mumbo jumbo

With all this hiking to locations at the butt crack of dawn. I always make sure to know exactly when and where the sunrise will take place. I use a combination of websites to make this happen.

The first is: Weather Underground. Weather Underground displays a few useful times such as “Nautical Twilight,” which us normal people refer to as “Blue Hour,” and of course the “Actual Sunrise Time.” It also displays the moon phases and rise times, which can be very useful for Blue Hour Photography.

The other site I use creates an overlay on Google Maps to pinpoint the exact location of the sunrise and sunset. The NOAA Solar Calculator is an amazing tool for planning your early morning HDR Photography Shoots because It takes all the mystery out of where exactly the sun will be. Knowing your sunrise and sunset positions is key to getting good HDR Photos early in the morning.