Sunday, 1 January 2012


When I wrote about the shortest day, when the sun would rise at 8.29, my conscience asked me why it had been years since I bothered to watch the sun rise on the beach.   So, when Bill was up well before dawn (sounds so righteous, doesn't it?) to go do a race, I had a cup of coffee and then ripped myself out of bed, threw on clothes and grabbed the camera.

It seemed as though daylight was already arriving and I worried that I'd missed my chance, so I ran.  Down hill, wind to my back, in walking shoes and long coat - all bundled up, I ran.  Seemed a crazy thing to do, but I was glad I did. 

More like candles than streetlights!

When I turned the corner, I could see that things were just beginning.  I've often envied people who live on the west coast, because sunset seems a more sensible time of day to enjoy sun and sea.

Tynemouth Priorty and the North Pier

Then again, when I had a Golden Retriever whose ancestors were all named 'sunset', I chose the name "Shelley's Golden Sunrise" instead.  It seemed more hopeful to be at the beginning.  So, if the down side of living this far north is the cold, the wet and the short days, then the advantage is that dawn is much more accessible for night owls like me.

I wasn't at all alone in this beautiful morning.  There were runners, seagulls, dog walkers...and a swimmer.   Keeping in mind that it will have been about 8 C / 46 F with a 14 mph wind, and he's wearing shorts.  I was a little worried that I might be witnessing a suicide, but then I'm accustomed to British eccentricities, so not worried enough to stop my photography. 

His was a very short swim and he did come out.  Even colder than when he went in, I imagine.

I stood there transfixed and snapped 58 photos, as one does when faced with something so magical.  The wind tried to knock me over a few times, one's balance isn't as good when staring through a lens.  Eventually I realised that the sun was going to shyly leave her water bed and slip behind her screen of clouds.  Good old English sun.

So I turned and made my way back home, wide awake even before my second cup of coffee.

Happy New Year!


Suburban Princess said...

Beautiful photos! Maybe the swimmer has a January 1st polar bear dip?

Beryl said...

I agree with Suburban Princess about the Polar Bear Swim. My cousin lived in Lake Tahoe and jumped in that freezing lake every January 1st until she went away to college. Those are really beautiful pictures!

Rick Stone said...

Beautiful sunrise pics. When we travel I often try to get some good sunset pics. My neighbor is an artist (painter) and she loves to do sunsets so I e-mail my pics to her. I've found the best sunset pics are to be taken in the Arizona desert. As for sunrise pics, unfortunately the sun comes up in the middle of the night for this retiree.

The English Organizer said...

Happy New Year! Truly beautiful photos and I really admire you seizing the moment.
Apologies for my continued bloggy absence and lack of comments; still feeling very overwhelmed by new job.
Hope 2012 brings you health & joy.

Anonymous said...

This was absolutely worth getting up to snap photos of! I have never seen anything this glorious in the American midwest!

Shelley said...

SP & Beryl - I should clarify that I snapped these photos on Christmas Eve. No way did I get up that early on NY day! We didn't get to bed until 3 am...The Blues Brothers was on TV after we got home from the neighbours party.

Pauline - How lovely to hear from you! Happy New Year - and don't let the job get you too much! Happy New Year to you, too!

Terri - I think three things are key to these photos - an open horizon, water to reflect the colours and some clouds to add interest. I'm sure the flat midwest and a lake would do; one of the things I remember Oklahoma doing best was dramatic skies. The years I spent in Salt Lake - mountains and no clouds - were quite sad in that way. Lovely for other reasons, but the weather and the sky was pretty boring... It's so nice to have you back on the internet!

Shelley said...

Rick - Dessert sunsets are some of the best, aren't they? And yes, I felt just that way about sunrise for most of my life. But 8.30? That's do-able. Happy New Year, Rick. As you say, 2012 can only be better (then again, best not tempt fate by saying that aloud too often).

BigLittleWolf said...

So stark, and yet so beautiful!

Sandra said...

Shelley...just a moment to try catching up with you and found these amazing every one of them, such beautiful relfections.