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Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Saturday morning was another very early 4A.M. wake up for a sunrise shoot with friends a little further north of me at Don Edward Wildlife Refuge.  The plan was to arrive early and photograph sunrise then go birding.

We met at 6AM et Quelle horreur! The gate was locked! It didn’t open until sunrise which wasn’t until after 7AM. Once the gate opened we drove out to the marshes/ponds and I raced to set up my rig to catch the colors that were unfolding in the Eastern sky.

The power towers run right through the marsh so I composed this image with them as a focal point and interest rather than trying to avoid them.  I also discovered that while packing my gear bag I inadvertently grabbed my 50mm lens rather than my 20mm lens!  They’re both small, and have the same make-up, and I wasn’t wearing my reading glasses. Sigh.

I rarely use this lens so, composing was a bit of challenge for me. I like a wider view, or a much tighter view, but I am happy with this composition.

Dawn in the Marshlands

Then I went birding but found very few birds on the marsh. The Winter migrants have pretty much left, but there were two pair of Canvasback ducks swimming in a stream which I was excited to see. I’ve been trying to be close enough to photograph one since I first saw one many years ago. Unfortunately, they weren’t any closer on Saturday so I still don’t have a decent image of one.  Maybe next year. 🙂

The tale doesn’t end there though. No. It turned out to be a very exciting birding day, but I went to another refuge, and I’ll tell you about that later this week. I was out all day Sunday too, and haven’t had a chance to work on the many bird images I made this past week-end; between Saturday and Sunday I shot 1,100+ images.

Happy First Day of Spring!

Nikon D700| Nikkor 50mm| Lexar Professional Digital Film| PS CC 2017

More to come…



  1. You did an excellent job with the image composition.

  2. I am here in a more timely manner, Deborah. 🙂 The unique lens and dynamics of dealing with lines in the photo made this special.
    The horizontal power lines with parallel swaths of sunrise colors crossed with the thicker vertical lines of power tower makes a fabulous, modern painting.
    This becomes similar to Alexander Calder’s linear paintings and huge balancing sculptures. Many would be thrilled if their photographs turned out this lovely! xo

  3. So gorgeous!

  4. Even with the gate problem and wrong lens, you created a spectacular shot!
    Can’t wait to hear and see how the birding adventure went. 🙂

  5. You are seriously dedicated!! … and your photos show the end result 🙂

    You’re so right about the hydro lines. If you can’t avoid them, might as well work with them. Personally, I think hydro towers make for interesting photos. You’ve proven it.

  6. Wonderful sunrise capture, Deborah! I love your composition. 🙂

  7. Gorgeous!

  8. Lovely shot for the first day of spring. 🙂

  9. I’ve been sleeping a lot lately!! I forgot how beautiful sunrise is!! Gorgeous Deb!

    • Thank you so much Hannah! It’s been wonderful getting out and seeing the sunrise.

      I don’t like changing time twice a year, but I do having a later sunrise. I have more time to see it unfold and can sleep in just a wee bit.

  10. I don’t understand lenses, or the metric system as it happens, so this photo is pretty as can be to me 🙂

  11. Wow – Deborah, I love the power line poles in the mash. The reflections are so soft, they’re almost magical. I can’t wait to see what you select from 1,100 images ! I’ve gotten up early to get photos, but not 4:00 am early. I do that to catch flights, and I don’t like it. I admire your dedication as much as your talent.

    • Thank you so much Dan for this lovely comment!

      One of the reason I like this time zone is b/c sunrise is later I can sleep in an hour more if there’s any traveling to a sunrise location. Instead of 3-3:30am I can sleep until 4-4:30! It’s pretty great. In the fall when I’m in the Eastern Sierras I’m up between 3am and 3:30 and leaving my hotel by 4 to get to a spot for blue period and sunrise.

      I just don’t know how many sunrises I’ve got left. I want to see as many as I can while I am able. I love starting my day in the peace and stillness of twilight, dawn, and sunrise.

      • The world seems at peace during sunrise. I love it. I get to see it a few times (weeks) a year in my commute but it’s the same views every day.

        • There’s a lot of positives to returning to the same location over and over again.
          Seasonal changes, great light, differnt skies, unexpected delights, and surprises.
          And, you have water and a great skyline behind it!
          You don’t know how much I long for that! Count your blessings! 🙂

          • Oh, I do! I love being by the water, for a lot of reasons. There is a park, on the other side of the river, but it’s a little sketchy that early in the morning until later in the year when the rowers are out in force. That park would let me catch the sunrise over the river, but the background doesn’t offer much.

  12. Loved the powerlines and the marsh photo, Deborah

  13. Ooh some grotesque points (4am and locked gate) in a lovely Spring post, Deborah 🙂 That sky and reflection are beautiful and over 1100 shots! Wow! And it wouldn’t surprise me if over 1099 are brilliant 😉

    • Thank you so much Phil!

      I’m culling duplicates, and missed shots so have removed about half already. I need to continue to whittle it down to the top 10%. I don’t always meet that goal, but always start out wanting to. 🙂

  14. I understand your frustration with the gate, Deborah. The park where I walk has a gate that opens around sunrise, too, but I’ve been there once or twice when it wasn’t open yet. In my case, however, if I go to another spot, I can park and walk in, so that works. 🙂 You got a lovely sunrise shot, though, and I’ll look forward to more birds.


    • Thank you so much Janet! We considered walking in for a brief second. It’s a mile or two to these ponds, then hiking around them can be more miles, then a hike back out…we waited for the gate to open and hoped for the best. 🙂

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  1. By The Circle of Life | Circadianreflections Blog on 24 Mar 2017 at 5:23 am

    […] the post I promised on Monday here that I would be sharing this week about a birding […]

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