Planning a sunrise photo shoot at the beach – 3 things to do before you go

distanbach-Bronte sunrise-4

For a little change of pace, I thought I’d share with you some of things I usually check before deciding to head off for sunrise photo’s at one of Sydney’s beaches. In this instance, the beach in question was Bronte and these images were shot last weekend.

Things To Do Before Shooting a Sunrise at the Beach

distanbach-Sunrise plan

Step 1. Obvious enough, but yes, you have to know what time sunrise will be. I’m also interested in the ‘first light’ time – particularly if I’m up early and there’s really promising light cloud cover,

The great news about last Saturday was that it was the last day before Daylight Savings ended so sunrise wasn’t until 7.09am. That’s the latest time all year and affords me more time in bed 😉

Step 2. Check the tidal information.

This is a key step for me as I usually won’t go down unless it’s close to low tide. I really want to be able to see and potentially shoot from atop the rocks that form the tidal pools at Bronte. This gives me foreground interest to any of the landscape shots should I choose. The other reason is just personal preference – I like it at low tide; its calmer, quieter and more peaceful.

Step 3. Check the angle and direction of the sun.

I found this great little (free) app a few years ago that I still use today. Its called Sun Seeker and it shows via interactive maps (and augmented reality) where the sun will be at a given time. Since it had been a while since my last visit, I thought I might check to see where the sun might break the horizon and look to see if there might be any better shooting locations if the conditions weren’t as I expected when I arrived. I don’t necessarily do this step before every shoot, but I did on this occasion.

 Step 4. Cross your fingers…

The last aspect that really can’t be planned or anticipated, particularly on the coast, is the weather and conditions. Many times have I driven down thinking I will be treated to a glorious red sunrise because the clouds seem perfect. Many times I’ve been disappointed. These days I don’t get my hopes up too high – I’ve realised that mother-nature is an amazing beast and I just take what comes. Last weekend, it was a fairly standard yellow toned sunrise. And, once again, despite the sound of my hum-drum description, its was quietly beautiful. There’s something about sunrises that reminds me how lucky I am.

Here’s some of the other shots I took before my swim and coffee.

Canon 5D Mark III | EF 24-105L | Tripod | ND 9 stop filter | Post: Lightroom 5 

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Hope you guys have a great week and if you have any questions or comments please jump in below.


10 Comments Add yours

  1. Nikitaland says:

    OMG and WOW! Absolutely stunning photographs Distan! ❤


    1. Distan Bach says:

      That’s so nice of you, Val. Thank you very much.


      1. Nikitaland says:

        It is the truth! Your photographs are remarkable! When you look at them, I can feel like I am there!


    1. Distan Bach says:

      Thanks heaps, Gary. Much appreciated.


  2. Leanne Cole says:

    Do you check things like the weather, what the forecast will be that day? I find we don’t get a sunrise, a good one unless the weather is going to get bad that day.
    I like the tips.


    1. Distan Bach says:

      Thanks Leanne. Over the years, I’ve noticed that sunrises in south Victoria frequently start off quite grey and it takes a little while for the sun to burn off that cloud cover. I’ve tried a number of different times to shoot the Lighthouse in Port Fairy at sunrise only to get that dull, overcast sky. Up here on the eastern seaboard I find you have to check the weather conditions to optimise your chances. Sunrises are far more varied here probably owing to the on-shore easterlies and our latitude and longitude.


      1. Leanne Cole says:

        I have found that too. You seem to have want a day where the weather will be bad, or go bad, but hope the clouds don’t come too early. It is a bit hit and miss here.


  3. Jane Lurie says:

    Great tips and your images are wonderful. Gorgeous landscapes. Aah, life on the beach.


  4. scottforward says:

    Reblogged this on .


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