Staring At The Sun, South Cronulla, sunrise, woman, beach, Sydney

My Sunday Photo – Staring At The Sun

This week’s My Sunday Photo is a memorable pre-dawn experience. It is called Staring At The Sun.


I decided to take a sunrise photo at one of our favourite beachside spots, to present to Emma as a birthday present. I woke up (extremely) early, tiptoed out of the house and made the drive to South Cronulla.

When I arrived, it was still very much pre-dawn. I set the camera on the tripod and went about taking some long-exposure shots of the iconic beach and some surrounding buildings. As it came closer to sunrise, I walked across the beach and over to the rocks and man-made pool. The light was constantly changing and I was very much enjoying myself.

I searched around for the perfect spot to stand and I took some practise shots. The sun was just about on the horizon and it was looking like it would be a good show to watch. Thrilled that I was about to capture the perfect moment to have blown up and placed on our dining room wall, I set myself.

Then, out of nowhere a person appeared. She had obviously been out enjoying her early morning walk and, inspired by the incredible scene unfolding before her, she decided to take a photo. However, there were two problems with this: She made the mistake that many of us do, which is to pull out the mobile, point it straight at the amazing sunrise and snap away. The second problem was that in trying to get as ‘close’ to the sunrise as possible, she had inadvertently entered the shot that I had patiently planned.

I can pretty well guarantee that she wouldn’t remember that sunrise (see below) after a while. The moment would be long forgotten for her and the photo on the phone relegated to some backup folder, or lost entirely. Yet there I was, fuming about the spoilt photo that I had worked so hard to achieve.

Staring at the sun, friday photo, Shooting the sun, sunrise
‘Shooting The Sun’ or ‘Nuclear Explosion’. It makes for a forgettable photo.

Thankfully, the woman was on her way soon enough and the show had still only really just begun. I snapped away as the light changed every few seconds and I ended up able to present my wife with a brilliant seascape sunrise that captures my eye every time I look at it.

When I went to process my photos. My attitude towards this particular moment changed entirely (possibly because I had been able to take the photo I wanted to). I realised that I had actually captured a great photo. This woman had added something really valuable to the shot. In her failed attempt to capture a moment, she had wound up the star of this shot. I really wish I had the opportunity to pass this photo on to that woman – to give her the permanent memory of this fleeting moment in time. Perhaps one day she will see it, who knows?


20 thoughts on “My Sunday Photo – Staring At The Sun

  1. It’s a lovely long exposure shot – great texture in the water. In many ways I think the woman adds to the shot – she’s a subtle feature of the image without dominating it – human texture, as it were.

    1. Thanks. Yes, I agree. Very happy she came along in the end. This photo is probably technically better than the one I ended up choosing to enlarge, because of her.

  2. A ruined shot presented a moment of opportunity, hey? What a great idea to present this image to your other half. Yes, I think this individual has in fact added something to the image. if you’ll forgive me, I’ll regale you with a story.

    While at journalism school, we had a guest lecturer from a well-know war photographer. he had been injured in the course of hos work and could no longer run. Fighting broke out near he and his colleagues. The colleagues all ran off to get closer the action, he had to stay put.

    While his colleagues were watching battle number 1, a second fight broke out right in front of him. No other photographers were there giving him an exclusive! It’s the way photography sometimes goes. Hope you had a good Easter.

    1. You can regale me with a story any time! The opportunities do sometimes present themselves in unexpected ways with photography. I have learnt that it’s always worth being ready to work with whatever is in front of you.

  3. I love both of your shots so much. I agree that at first I would have been disappointed but like most things on reflection there is always something magical to be seen. I LOVE the colours, the texture and movement in the water. Great capture #MySundayPhoto

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