Morning sunrises this week at Roundtop are especially stunning, and there are several reasons for this. Perhaps most obvious are the clouds. For a really spectacular sunrise or sunset, at least a few clouds along the horizon are needed. The clouds turn the most amazing colors as the sun nears the horizon. This week the clouds have been most cooperative.
Perhaps less thought of, but just as important, is where the sun is when it breaks the horizon. At Roundtop the sunrises are nearly always “better” than the sunsets. Partly this is because, except in midwinter, I have a better view to the east than to the west. However, the real reason is where the sun breaks the horizon this time of year.
We all know that here in the northern hemisphere the sunrise or sunset falls at different points along the eastern or western horizon. In winter, the sun rises much further to the south than it does in summer. What this means at Roundtop is that from roughly October to early February, the sunrise reflects across the main snowmaking pond, which doesn’t happen in summer. That reflection of the sunrise over the pond contributes greatly to good sunrise photos.
Even without the pond, the angle of the sunrise itself creates a different color to the light in these waning seasons. It’s not just the leaves that make people talk about a “golden” October. The light from the sun’s lower sky angle is much more golden now than in the summer months, when it is more lemony than golden. Artists are very aware of the changing color of light, often to their great annoyance as the colors seem to change even as they work.
For me, all this simply translates into better sunrise photos during this time of year. And that’s always a good reason to have a camera ready.