In a Field at Dawn

September 28, 2020



I am standing in the middle of a field at 4.15 in the morning. There is a light low-level mist softly creeping around my legs covering the field and flowing over the river. It Moistens the grass and makes my feet damp. The sun has not reached the horizon yet but is starting to light up the clouds, (if there are any), in a spectacular fashion.

A centre of red, an explosion of colour, which bursts out from the sun and slowly diminishes over the clouds above my head. A silent eruption of colour that envelopes you. This should have a fanfare or marshal music playing. Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance. The fog lights up with a golden colour it starts to eddy and swirl in the heat.

The quiet. You notice this, everything seems to fit. The birds go quiet as if to say, “Look at this, we see this every day and it never gets old”. Even the ever-intrusive road noise takes a back seat to this marvel. I am in one of my bubbles only this time it is a bubble of silent rapture. Why am I here? oh yes, take some photographs.

It’s a little eerie, but a superb vision. This Golden orb slowly hits the horizon and the world changes. The light show fades and the mist retreats and in 5 minutes the world has gone from a mist-covered ethereal place to a harsh reality. The light is different but still workable for another 20 minutes but gradually it becomes more directional and the contrast goes from subtle to harsh and that’s it.

Getting out of Bed

A 3.30 start. That’s 3.30 am, and the first big question is. Do you stay up all night and go to bed afterwards and hope, or do you go to bed and pray you will get up.

I have done both and both have benefits and drawbacks. The former normally takes me a couple of days to recover from but I know I will be out of bed it also means that I will have to be alert and the sleep-deprived body will have to function, not always easy.

The latter means I get some sleep and recover from the early start far quicker but the huge effort of getting out of bed for anything, but perfect conditions is very difficult. However, as was shown to me recently even less than perfect conditions can garner some good photographic results.

So, getting out has its issues but once you are there everything changes.


Normally there is no one about or if they are, they are in no mood to talk. It was better when the lockdown was stricter there was no traffic noise, but this has made a small but noticeable intrusion recently and doubtless will get worse as time goes on. It’s just me no noise and the birds that are in full swing for the dawn chorus. Not as noisy now as it was 20 years ago but still loud.

It’s difficult to put into words what the world looks and sounds like at that time in the morning and how it makes you feel to watch the sun come up.

There are a lot of sunset images because its easily accessible. But dawn, that requires a certain dedication to get up in the middle of the night. To drive or hike to the location. Hope the clouds fall right, hope the sun lights up, hope there is mist or frost, but there is always something.

It’s been an awesome morning. The world has been born again. I consider myself fortunate to have been at this particular birth.


I have some dawn Images on my Instagram feed which can be found HERE


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