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Something told me to turn left instead of right at the stop sign of the deserted early morning street corner. It was barely light but in a few short hours beach goers would be swarming the street. For now it was just me... and a guy on a bike with coffee in one hand pedaling slowly with no destination in mind. Being awake and outside on a calm morning before sunrise was the destination for both of us.

My original plan was to head to Corsin’s Inlet for some wandering in the early morning light - but I listened to the suggestion and turned left. As I parked the car near the sand dunes in the northern end of Ocean City, I felt like I was guided to the right decision. The sky was still a deep magenta, but with orange spreading out where the sun would rise. I immediately composed some frames with dune grasses in this great light. I then walked quickly toward a rock jetty as the perfect cloud formation waited for the sun to rise directly beneath it.

It was the kind of “quiet” where a single sound - the roar of the constant surf - replaced all other sounds. I saw a few other people walking or sitting on the beach, but they melted away as I became obsessed with different compositions of light, clouds, and water. Everyone else ceased to exist.

Thirty minutes later, I emerged from my sunrise experience breathless - as if I were photographing a sporting event. It’s surprising how fast the sun moves, and how quickly the color changes, as it passes close to and then behind the clouds on the watery horizon. I watched the sky go from the magenta and orange of pre-sunrise to the orange yellow and blue of early morning, as the sun rose above the water into the breeze-stretched clouds. What a thirty minutes it was!

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A short Photo Story from September 2019, by Brian Reitenauer.