Surprise Sunrise — Better than Fog

Hint of Fog — Jordan Lake, NC © jj raia

Since I’m always checking the weather to be aware of the possibility for any fog forming in the area, I was happy to see fog was predicted for the morning of Memorial Day, and the forecast remained the same for the two days prior. The two apps I use (Weather Bug and Clear Outside) both indicated fog, yet Clear Outside also showed the temperature would not drop low enough overnight to reach the dew point, so there was a bit of a conflict. Even though fog may have been doubtful, I headed out around 5am under a mostly cloudy sky, but hoped there might be fog over the lake.

Well, there was no fog around at all, so I drove past one of the spots I go to frequently and headed to another favorite sunrise spot, even though at this time of year the sun rises much further north and prefer that spot during the winter months. Of the many times I’ve gone there, I only saw another photographer there once, and it turned out we knew each other. This time someone had arrived before me, but I didn’t know him, so we only chatted after I had set up a little distance away and had been there for some minutes. Things were looking bleak, so we commiserated about our poor luck and had agreed that it was just not to be that morning. And things did not look to improve as the clouds were moving left to right, seemingly making matters worse.

For the image above, the tripod needed precise placement in order for there to be a minimum of intersections among the branches, rocks and reflections. It’s not that an intersection would be fatal, but may have formed a confusing and distracting dark blob within the frame. Since it was possible, and there was no need to hurry for the mediocre conditions thus far, time was taken to maneuver the camera into just the right position. The only thing interesting happening was a small amount of fog forming toward the other end of the lake. It’s difficult to see it, but it’s much lower in elevation than the cloud cover, and all the way to the left of the opening along the horizon, stretching toward the middle, in front of the clouds.

By then, the other photographer had abandoned all hope and packed up his camera, while I mentioned I would stick around a bit longer and then probably head into Raleigh to see what I could find to shoot there in the absence of a good sunrise where we were.


The Perfect Beach Day

Solitary God Beam — Jordan Lake, NC © jj raia

Is it possible to have an obsession seeking a specific combination of atmospheric conditions during a narrow timeframe in the year, at a specific location, to make the ideal photograph there? Depending on who you ask, I may or may not be obsessed, but I certainly do have a specific image in mind at a specific spot at Jordan Lake that has eluded me for several years, and will probably continue to do so.

I’ve been going to Jordan Lake ever since 2012 when the switch was made from film to digital because it is nearby and offers something resembling “wilderness” in one of the fastest growing areas of suburban sprawl in the country. There always seems to be something new to discover, or different conditions to encounter at familiar locations, and have benefitted from so many of the visits there. I’ve come to know a few spots around this huge lake to go to for sunrise or sunset, and keep an eye out for weather conditions conducive for an interesting sky or the possibility of fog. The persistence over the years, from time to time, has resulted in being at the right place at just the right time, but those occasions have been few and far between. If you try often enough, I suppose the odds are more likely to swing in your favor at some point, rather than if you never drag yourself out of bed in the morning. But there has been one location where all the elements just never came together, at least when I was actually there. “When a tree falls in the forest…”