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Golden Hour: The joy of early rising

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  Showering, Terrigal Beach. You can see this scene most mornings at Terrigal. Even in the depths of the winter there are ocean swimmers taking an early morning dip. This particular morning the light was just at the right angle
Showering, Terrigal Beach. You can see this scene most mornings at Terrigal. Even in the depths of the winter there are ocean swimmers taking an early morning dip. This particular morning the light was just at the right angle

For as long as I can remember I have been a very early riser. Since I retired nine years ago I get up at 5.30am, pick up a camera and walk down to the village, to the local newsagent to buy a paper for my wife and then take a brisk walk along the esplanade or the beach before climbing home up the steep hill.

  Foggy morning, Terrigal Esplanade: No direct golden light in this one but a bank of sea fog caused by a temperature inversion rolled in and the sunrise was filtered by it to give this unusual scene
Foggy morning, Terrigal Esplanade: No direct golden light in this one but a bank of sea fog caused by a temperature inversion rolled in and the sunrise was filtered by it to give this unusual scene

I follow this regime every morning except when it is raining hard. It is a arrangement I also try to follow when I am travelling and I am personally very sold on the health/fitness benefits of the exercise and the photographic benefits of being up at the golden hour.

  Man at prayer. Temple, Yangon Myanmar. I am very careful to be respectful when photographing people at prayer and more often than not give such shots a miss. But the angle of the light and the colours meant that I was reluctant to pass up on this one
Man at prayer. Temple, Yangon Myanmar. I am very careful to be respectful when photographing people at prayer and more often than not give such shots a miss. But the angle of the light and the colours meant that I was reluctant to pass up on this one

The last two months have been very difficult for me. I have been hospitalised and obviously my early morning walking regime had to be put on hold. I tried to substitute a walk around the hospital’s 6th floor at 6.00am, much to the amusement of the night shift nurses. But towing an IV stand with a tube in your arm is not the same as a walk down the beach and of course I did not have a camera.

Now I am back home and gradually recovering from my operation and really looking forward to getting into the walking and photography routine again. I have really missed it.

  Chicago street scene, taken in May this year. The wind off the lake was bitterly cold but the early morning light transformed this otherwise rather ordinary streetscape
Chicago street scene, taken in May this year. The wind off the lake was bitterly cold but the early morning light transformed this otherwise rather ordinary streetscape

Even if you are reading this with horror — “5.30 get up, is this man mad ?” — you should try to get up early some mornings just for the photo opportunities, particularly when you are travelling. The golden hour is aptly named.

All morning photographs in this article were taken with the Leica X1 except the Chicago shot which was taken with the Leica Q.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Welcome back John. It is such a relief to know that you are on the road to recovery. Lovely pictures as I have come to expect from you. The X1 is a perfect companion on your early morning forays into the world. Wishing you continued good progress.

    David

  2. As much as you are looking forward to your walks, your followers are awaiting your photos from your walk abouts. Now that seasons are almost changing you will be able to enjoy the walks even more, and continue your photographic journey!

  3. Oh you lucky man! Not all the cold water in the world can change me from being a zombie at that time of day. So good to see your X1 at work again on these pages.

  4. Thanks for your kind words. I have progressed enough to get back out on the dawn patrol every morning last week and I managed to get a few good photos.
    I am regularly posting my latest photos on Instagram @therollingroad and am also running the blog
    It seems a pity to be using a Leica to take photos which people most likely see on a phablet but I guess that is how it is.

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