The alarm has just gone off. It’s 5.30 in the morning – which to be fair is not an especially early start for a dawn shoot – but it’s pitch black, very cold and, according to the latest weather forecast, there is only a slim chance of some decent light. There is a very strong possibility that the next two or three hours will be a complete waste of effort. If I get up, I’ll have to scrape the ice off the car, skid for an hour or so along the icy roads that our cash-strapped county council hasn’t gritted, park the car and then walk for 30 minutes to my chosen location. Once there, the likelihood is that I won’t take any pictures, but simply stand there getting cold as I watch the sky slowly transform from inky black to dull grey.
The alternative is to stay in a nice warm bed but I choose to get up and head out with the camera. And I’m not the only one. Goodness knows how many other landscape photographers across the country will be getting up and heading out into the dark with little real hope of getting any reward for their effort. So, why do we do it?
To be perfectly honest, if weather forecasting were a 100% accurate science, I might get a few more lie-ins. But on the other hand, if I bagged a fantastic sunrise every time I went out on a dawn raid, then life might be less interesting...