Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday morning sunrise on the Ohio River

If I ever get that book written, it’s going to have a chapter called “Morning Light” because I love getting up when the world is asleep and going down to the Ohio River bank. Sometimes I even beat the fishermen to the river.

This morning was one of those times. My camera battery was charged, and the settings had been reset to avoid the usual unpleasant surprises. The sun wasn’t due up for another hour and half. So I went to one of my favorite spots and set up my cheap tripod, the one I bought a while back when I really needed one and my good one had gone to pieces after 25 years of faithful service. I could see fog trying to form in a few spots on the river’s edge, but the main channel of the river gave no indication of cooperating. The surface shone like a mirror, meaning no boats had been through in a while. I looked up and down the river, and saw and heard nothing. It gave all the signs of a good morning.

I left my car unlocked with a couple of doors open in case I needed to make a quick getaway, but this being Sunday, the bad guys and the LEOs were elsewhere. For one morning, at least, the world was leaving me alone.

I got a few pictures there, none of them really very good. So I went a quarter of a mile down the road to my second stakeout spot.

It had been a long time since I could stand in one spot and watch the sun rise over the horizon. The half moon hung high in the sky and kept rising as the eastern sky lightened. Then I got to thinking about how the moon and sun weren’t climbing, but that we were really falling away from them if you could look at the earth from a certain point of view.

I looked up the river toward the East End bridge, a cable stay structure that opened 25 years ago. Fog maybe 20 feet deep hung over the roadway but nowhere else. The deck is concrete, so I assume it absorbed heat during the day yesterday and held it through the chilly night. As the air got so cold and passed over the warm concrete deck, fog formed, but only directly over the deck.

But I had no time for musings in philosophy or pyhsics. A few low clouds in the east lit up as sunrise neared. The sky changed to a yellow-orange in one spot, getting brighter and brighter.  As the top of the sun rose over the horizon, I shot away with my camera. Then I hopped in the car and drove the quarter of a mile back to myfirst location and got a better shot. The picture that I really wanted presented itself in between, but I would have to either run into a stranger’s back yard to get it or else shoot from the street between two houses, and I didn’t want to upset anyone who might be getting up and seeing a stranger with a camera pointed toward their house so early on a Sunday morning.

My pre-dawn trip started nearly 12 hours ago, and I still feel so good from it. Some people get away from it all by going to the movies. I do it by getting up early and watching the sun rise over the Ohio River.

My wish list includes finding a towboat company that will let a freelance writer/wannabe photographer on a boat for a day or two so I can, among other things, be out on the river 24/7 with people who are there 180 days a year. I’d like to hear of their favorite places to be at sunrise or sunset, in the fog or in the rain, in snow or in the sun. And I’d like to talk with people who are set in one place as I am and talk with them about how they see the river in different times of day, various times of year or different weather conditions.

I don’t need Vegas to have a great time. I just need a good river.

Here are links to a few photos from my morning joy. They're not on here for a couple of reasons, mainly the size of the files.

First, here is the sun rising over the hills of West Virginia, taken from my second shooting spot.

Then I ran back up to my first spot and got this one .

And here's one of a barge tow coming up the Ohio River, shot from the sidewalk of the 6th Street bridge connecting downtown Huntington, W.Va., with Chesapeake, Ohio. I got this one after getting the sunrise shots. You can see the sun's reflection in the water here.