Tuesday, April 20, 2010

South Carolina Sunrise

Saturday, the day of the Create South conference, was going to be a busy day.  I hadn't gone to sleep until 01:00 in the morning (hadn't slept more than an hour catnap pulled off the highway the night before either) and we wanted to get an early start so that there was time for a light breakfast before heading over to the college.  The conference was scheduled to start at 09:00 that morning.

So, just before my head hit the pillow early Saturday morning I worked backwards from the 09:00 start to 07:00 for breakfast (when the hotel restauraunt opened it's doors), to 6:30 to drive down to the hotel my friends were staying in, 5:30 time to get in the shower, and finally to 05:00 just in case something went wrong.  I set my alarm for 05:00.  Just four hours to sleep.  I was lucky to get the alarm set at all as fast and hard as I fell asleep.

The ocean improves so many things about me, for me.  I had forgotten that.  Whether it was the sea air or just pure exhaustion, I have no idea.  Next thing I knew the alarm on my trusty little Blackberry was telling me to get up.  I awoke from the best four hours of sleep I can remember.  While still tired, I was excited and nervous (in a sort of good way) to start the day. I always factor in extra time for myself for getting ready to go somewhere.  I've learned.  The hard way.  But, Saturday the nerves were working in my favor.  That, and the fact that I was in a hotel room with minimal belongings as opposed to being home with forty gazillion distractions helped keep me on track.

I didn't look at the clock as I grabbed my stuff for the conference.  I just headed out the door and figured that early is better than late.  When I got to the other hotel I realized that it was still dark out.  The sun was just beginning to rise over the Atlantic.  I looked at my watch.  I had tons of time before breakfast.  So, rather than go inside, I walked around to the back of the hotel and straight on to the beach.

I stopped to take a couple of shots of the tall dune grasses at the edge of the beach proper.  I would walk a few yards, stop for a couple of pictures.  Walk some more.  Snap a few.  Finally, I took my sandals off, dropped my bag on the beach next to them, and walked down to the waters edge.

As the sun rose, I took photo after photo of the waves, the clouds, the sand, the birds, and the few people who were sharing this magical time of day with me.  A lot of the shots were blurry from the low light. But many were not.  Doesn't matter either way.  I made myself stop and take the time to enjoy the sunrise over the ocean.  I remembered to look through the lens and see the whole frame.  The conference hadn't even officially started and yet I was returning to a long lost lover. I was finding a piece of myself I had pushed down inside myself.  It felt good to pull it free again.

The light that Saturday morning was not great.  It was a bit overcast, a bit fuzzy, a bit flat.  Didn't matter to me in the slightest.  After a little while, I was done shooting.  Done looking.  Done experiencing.  No rhyme or reason to when or why I just was.

I went back to my bag on the beach, picked it up, grabbed my sandals and made my way to my friends' room.  We had a lovely breakfast and went back to their room to get their stuff for the conference.  Before we left for the day, we were hanging out on the balcony talking about the light that morning.  For a brief moment, the sun smiled in that way that it only does for a brief time, if at all, twice a day.  It's called "The Golden Hour" for a reason.  I took my final sunrise pictures on that balcony, in that magical light, of two special people.  

After those first few hours of the day, the conference was a bonus.  Lovely and wonderful but a bonus none-the-less.  Here are some of those images:


  1. What can I say?

    Lovely work. And you captured one of Tee's looks perfectly. Another 999 images, and you'll have grabbed all of him...

  2. Very nice pictures. Glad you had a great time.

  3. Beautiful pictures, Sue! And I'm really enjoying how you're unpacking and sharing your experience in words. Thanks.

  4. What a beautiful way to start a day!

  5. Anonymous9:37 PM

    I love the ocean and your pictures capture that early morning beauty that is almost impossible to explain to anyone whose never seen it...just lovely.