Steve Perry

Stormy Sunrise At Eagle Point Lighthouse

Man this shot beat me up!

It started off easy enough, just some pleasant scouting one fall afternoon. I really liked the way everything looked and, hey, what-do-ya-know, the next day a gale was predicted :)

Well, I can’t resist that, so the following day I come for some sweet sunset light. Unfortunately, the great light I was hoping for never made an appearance, but there were some nice waves and ominous clouds hanging in the sky. I was actually pretty happy with the shot…

However…

Couldn’t help but notice…

Just kind of occurred to me…

The wind was forecast to shift overnight and that should make for better waves…

AND…

The sun just so happens to come up in a good area compositionally.

Hmm…

Now, the decision had to be made – do I drive back to the hotel (an hour away), then drive BACK before dawn the next morning to try again – when I already had a good shot?

Well, I can’t live with myself knowing that I might be passing up a great photo, so back up I drove early the next morning.

Oh – and yeah, it had snowed overnight and the roads were covered, so I needed to leave even earlier (2 hours before dawn). It was painfully slow going (the clock constantly working against me towards sunrise) and there was an occasional snow squall to remind me that I was still in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

I finally made it to the lighthouse and started shooting shortly before dawn. The wind was amazingly strong (the gale had gotten a bit more ambitious overnight) and I had to keep a hand on my tripod at all times or it would be swept over the ledge to a rocky, aquatic grave. (Actually, I had to watch my footing as well, the wind seemed determined to blow ME over the ledge too!)

At this point, a vicious rain / snow mix had started – blowing horizontally across my exposed position on the ledge. It was all I could do to keep the camera dry enough to shoot as my jacket and clothes snapped with the wind. The only glimmer of luck was the wind was square to my back.

About 10-15 minutes or so after sunrise, this photo happened. The sky, only for a few moments, lit up with this eerie looking light. It was over in just a few minutes but it was enough to make this image – and to make me smile with my big, stupid, “I just got a good photo” grin.

I lingered there for a bit – you never know what might happen with the light. About 30 minutes after sunrise someone else showed up and quickly took a snapshot from a more protected location, looked at me like I was a nut job, and scurried away. Hey, other than that I had the place to myself :)

It was then I noticed the back of my legs were really stinging. I looked around and oops – the back of my pants were totally soaked from the rain and snow. With the wind whipping at near 40MPH, the temps in the upper 20s (no clue about the windchill – I don’t wanna know), I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise that my legs were gonna start hurting from the bitter cold.

I stayed another 10 minutes or so (by this time it I had been out for over an hour), and finally called it done. I was soaked, cold, and NOT looking forward to the 5 hour drive ahead of me, but man, WHAT A MORNING!

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