Recipe for a Great Sunrise

Over the past three years or so I’ve been paying attention to weather forecasts, weather patterns and to the resulting light that is produced. A few times I’ve thought of shooting the next morning, only to look at the hourly forecast and see clouds on the way, and instead decided against going out. But too often I ended up so disappointed to see a beautiful sunrise the next morning as I woke or during my morning commute to work. I kept this in the back of my mind, and suggest to my friend Dave earlier this month on a Saturday morning, that we stop by Pittock Mansion before we hit the gorge for a hopeful sunrise, based on past experience of weather conditions that were just shaping up.

These conditions are to watch when an evening is clear and sunny, especially windy, and when the forecast is calling for clouds to arrive the following morning. When these conditions play out, put your camera bag by the door and set an early alarm, and go no matter an voices in you head telling you not to. Too many times in such conditions I’ve seen spectacular sunrises, but only to be followed by cloudy and colorless days. Those that slept in on these mornings would never know what they had missed. So here is the first photo I’ve got from such a morning, where I saw this changing weather pattern come and where I just stuck with it in spite of what the forecast predicted. Needless to say, it paid off. This was a special sunrise which thrilled many photographers in the Portland area. Below is my take from this morning of magic over the beautiful city which I call home. Of course, these conditions in no way guarantee a special sunrise, but there’s likely a coin flip’s chance it will be worth the early start to your day.