Whenever I see a cloudy sky with a break at the horizon towards sunrise or sunset, I get fired up. It’s still possible that the sky won’t light up, but it’s typically one of the most beautiful situations. The low sun shoots under the clouds and makes for color all over the sky. It also makes the sun unpredictable. You can see it shaping up before the key moment, but the movement of the clouds can be hard to predict when you need them in such a specific place. If the clouds break too early, you might be left with a simple, boring sky. And if the clouds don’t break in time, you might be left with gray.
On this particular morning, I’d driven for an hour in the dark and spent 30 minutes trudging around a point in baggy waders through frigid water. I could have just as easily slept in after the previous day’s shooting. The sky was covered in thick and relatively low clouds. I knew that they might be too low to let in the sun’s color. But the horizon was open and I was hopeful that I’d be rewarded for my efforts this particular morning. And then the sky did something I rarely see. The bottoms of the deep blue clouds lit up with stripes of warm red light for a few moments. Actually, a long moment.