Why It's Worth Getting up at 3am for Sunrise Photography

Sunrise photography is no easy task and takes some real dedication to pull off. Here's why one landscape photographer loves getting up at 3am to shoot epic sunrises.

Almost every photographer I know has gone through some moments of real dedication for their craft, and arguably, landscape photographers have to do it more often than most.

In my career, I've stood in mid-winter swamp at 6am, I've trekked through the rain forest at midday, and I've stood less than a meter away from certain death at the edge of a glacier in a blizzard. The list really does go on, ranging from the uncomfortable to the ill-advised. Had I not had a camera in my hands, had I not been a photographer, I wouldn't have dreamed of doing these sort of things. So why do I? Why do so many suffer and risk for photography? I believe it's because the best images hide behind those sacrifices.

In this video, Nigel Danson walks you through why he gets up at 3am for sunrise photography, and loves it. Danson is an expert landscape photographer and undoubtedly committed to the cause, but 3am is crazy for most; there's early and then there's that. But the truth is, if he wants to get the great shots you rarely see, you have to go that extra mile.

This has always been my philosophy too: if you want to take images unlike the sea of images already out there, you cannot walk the same path. If you do, you're waiting for luck to strike. However, if you get up at 3am to trek to a location far away for sunrise, the chances are, few people have been doing that. Find your 3am trek and set yourself apart.

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Lee Christiansen's picture

I don't understand... What is this "3:00am" of which you speak...?
I've never experienced it... :) :)

C Fisher's picture

It's always funny to me that some photographers make such a huge deal about waking up early when a lot of people get up that time every day for work. Waking up before dawn isn't some impossible thing only the strongest can do lol.

Timothy Roper's picture

That's why I prefer sunset photography.