In search of a beach sunrise photograph

18:04pm Tuesday

Through the open doors of my hotel room I can hear the surf pounding on the beach. I am enduring the chilly winter evening air, to make the most of having a hotel room which is about 10 meters from the beach. If it were warmer, I would take off my shoes and run onto the beach just to experience the sand between my toes. I make do with standing on the small deck outside the room. I look up and see clarity of the stars, the Southern Cross easily identifiable in the night sky.

The day’s programme finished just as darkness was falling, and I missed seeing the sunset from my room. So I promise myself that I will be awake and camera ready in the morning to enjoy the sunrise at 10 minutes past seven. It will be tight to fit in taking photographs of the sunrise and having breakfast before tomorrow’s programme starts at 8:30. In fact, thinking about it, I am almost happy to forgo breakfast in order to appreciate the sunrise over the beach.

The weather forecast for the next few days shows clear skies in the mornings, so I am hoping that will make for a fine sunrise. The last time I stayed here, it was September, later in the year and sunrise was earlier. I managed a good beach walk before breakfast and captured some magnificent reflections of the clouds in the waves as the sun rose. I feel that my expectations are probably way too high but I am in search of another decent shot.

07:30am Wednesday

Up at 6:30 – beach and camera ready at 7. The pre-dawn light is soft and beautiful and there is not a whisper of a breeze as I step out of my room and onto the beach. I encounter a colleague from Australia who is also on her way down to the beach, camera in hand. The water in the lagoon is still and the dunes are perfectly reflected in this as we walk past. A beach patrol vehicle has driven on the beach overnight, leaving perfectly formed tyre patterns in the sand. I am loathe to disturb their perfect state.

We amble down to the surf whilst we wait for the sun to come up, chatting as we go. The colours in the shallow water are orange, pink and blue contrasting warmly with the damp, dark sand. Soon, the round ball of the sun peeks over the horizon and paints everything with its exquisite warm light. I catch a few moments when the elongated reflection of the sun reveals itself in the shallow surf before the next wave crashes onto the beach, disturbing the reflection. As the waves fall back, the bubbles left in the surf mirror the colours of the sunrise.

Mpekweni Beach Sunrise

Tick. Mission accomplished. Aaah.

Surely there is time now, to go back to my room to load the photos onto my computer to see if I have the shot I think I have before I head off to breakfast?

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