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If you were to ask me what I love most about living in Door County for most of my life, it is hands down the endless opportunities to encounter the priceless gift of amazing sunrises and sunsets. Of course, everyone in the world gets this opportunity, but what makes it extra special here is what makes Door County such a unique place. The rural beauty, miles of untouched, natural landscape and large bodies of water that surround the peninsula make a perfect subject matter for the glorious display of light and color to reflect upon during these “magic” hours of the day.
When I am sitting under a sky soaked in hues of red, orange, yellow, pink, purple and blue that reflect for miles on the water and shoreline, or, I am driving inland and notice the silhouette of a tree line or barn against a painted sky, I am deeply touched to the core. Whatever is happening at that moment in my life can be put aside as I fully engage in savoring a show that is free of charge. As photographers, I believe this is what we are attempting to capture: those people, places and things in our outer world that connect with our inner selves. For me, one of those things has been and always will be the visual splendor of a beautiful Door County sunrise or sunset.
Capturing these moments can be planned, but sometimes they appear without any warning. In fact, one of my “top ten” sunsets occurred this way last summer. After a gloomy, cloudy day of storms, I figured, no sunset today. Well, I was in for a surprise because about 15 minutes before sunset, I looked out my window and saw what was about to unfold. I frantically grabbed my camera and flew in my car down to George K. Pinney park just in time to witness it. A large wall cloud had raced across the bay and in its wake left a trail of sunset color like no other. I was so in awe of the scene, yet a bit scared, as this swirling massive black cloud was unveiling such beauty. I didn’t want to miss one second of it. A handful of spectators were standing there as well, their eyes glued to the scene. I must have taken 1,000 pictures in a 15 minute time frame which is what is so great about digital photography….large memory cards!
Another memorable experience was a sunrise I watched at Cave Point a few summers back. I was with another photography friend and we were both positioned on each side of the rocky formation I lovingly call “the arch”. As I faced the sunrise, I just happened to look behind me and notice how the arch lit up in beautiful golden tones as the first rays of sun touched it. Just like that the subject I was shooting changed in an instant. This happens to me a lot when photographing things, that magic moment when the hidden image makes itself known to you and you have to change your original plan and just go with it.
But, if I had to pick an all time favorite sunset story, it would be the night I was a passenger in a car driving over the Oregon Street bridge in Sturgeon Bay and I looked over and saw the shot. It was like a scene out of a James Bond movie, a woman leaping from a slowly moving car onto the sidewalk in the middle of the bridge with camera in hand to get a picture. The timing was crucial for this one and luckily I got it. *For the record I do not advise this as a standard practice in photography!
Even though I have lived in this small corner of the world for quite some time and it seems like a person would run out of places and things to photograph, I have not. As I continue to learn about the exciting world of photography, I am constantly rewarded with photo ops to hone my creative and technical skill. Popular places like Cana Island lighthouse, Anderson Dock and Cave Point never disappoint at the golden hour as the scenery changes with the passing of the seasons. Driving all over rural inland roads has also been a treasure trove of photo ops as well. Believe it or not, I still have many key locations on my list to photograph for the first time.
I love living here in Door County and it is truly an amazing place for photography enthusiasts of all levels to explore. As I am typing this right now I can see it is time for me to grab my camera and get outside. Sharing the beauty with the help of this wonderful invention is a never ending adventure for me. A spectacular sunrise or sunset, in my opinion, is one of the best forms of medicine for the soul. So grab your equipment and pick a spot, you just never know what you may come upon when you arrive at a location!
You can see more of my photos and other Door County images on Capture Door County.
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