For all of you photographers out there, if you’ve never gone out for a sunrise shoot, I highly recommend it! I’ve done more than a handful of sunrise shoots with probably a 50% success rate. Sometimes, there are too many clouds or not enough clouds or the location you found doesn’t provide the best view or the sun is being really boring and on and on. However, regardless of the amount of gems you take home with you, the process of doing a sunrise shoot is simply awesome. Recently, Ruben, my father in law, Feliz, my sister in law and my new friend Katie woke up at 3:45am to head over to Joshua Tree National Park to test our skills in sunrise photography. Honestly, I was exhausted after photographing a wedding the day before, but my awesome sister in law was the surprising motivator and continued calling it a once in a lifetime opportunity. After driving 40 miles to a location that we hoped would provide a fantastic view of the sunrise, we hunkered down against the cold and watched in amazement as the night turned into day and started to warm our freezing bodies!

The sunrise shoot reminded me of why I love photography. I love the ability to document my life experiences. I love the challenge of capturing what is in front of me. I love the time to myself. I love the lack of distractions. I love being bewildered by God’s creation. I love being humbled. At one point, I stopped everything that I was doing and watched in awe as the ridiculously vibrant colors were transforming the sky into an amazing masterpiece. Seriously. As we left, I kept thinking about how grateful I was for waking up ridiculously early that morning for what was indeed, a once in a lifetime opportunity. What excuses can you come up with to NOT try a sunrise shoot? =)

If you are interested in purchasing any of these photographs, they will be available for sale during the Photography for a Cause event in April 2011. If that is too long to wait (hint, hint – Christmas presents?), please send me a contact request through the main website – Thanks!

After climbing a few boulders, we arrived at this location where the sun was subtly trying to push the night away and the stars stubbornly refused to stop sparkling
(5DII | 16-35L | ISO 800 | f/9 | 30 sec)

Feliz and Katie were simultaneously trying to stay warm and take photos at the top of a huge set of rocks
(5DII | 16-35L | ISO 4000 | f/2.8 | 1/40th sec)

(5DII | 16-35L | ISO 4000 | f/2.8 | 1/40th sec)

Joshua Tree is famous for its rock climbing and I wanted to showcase the amazing rock formations with the epically glorious sunrise

(5DII | 16-35L | ISO 50 | f/22 | 5 sec)

Sunrise sessions are slow to develop and end very quickly and so literally within seconds of taking the above photograph, the sky produced these absolutely incredible colors!

(5DII | 16-35L | ISO 50 | f/22 | 0.5 sec)

(5DII | 16-35L | ISO 50 | f/22 | 1 sec)

I was walking back to meet the rest of the group and I noticed that I would never be this tall again in my life and so I took a quick self-portrait! =)

(5DII | 16-35L | ISO 50 | f/2.8 | 1/50th sec)

As we were driving out, I asked Ruben to pull over because I wanted to jump out and take this photograph of the iconic Joshua Trees in the beautiful morning light.

(5DII | 16-35L | ISO 400 | f/16 | 1/25th sec)

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