Sunrise at North Window

Napping at Balanced Rock after trying for a Milky Way shot, the alarm woke us, and we drove to the Windows, arriving before dawn. The sun would rise on the far side of the Windows, so I had to choose between photographing the rising sun or the far side of the Windows. Photographing several Santorini sunsets last fall, I noticed that photos of the town illuminated by the setting sun were much more interesting than those of the sun sinking into the sea.

I saw some guys standing on a ledge on the far side of North Window. The ledge seemed a promising place to photograph North Window so I climbed out there. In this photo taken from North Window, I’m on the rocky ledge to the left of the sun.

sunrise on a rocky ledge

People gathered at North Window to watch the sunrise.

watching the sunrise at North Window

This photo shows North Window, a bit of South Window, Turret Arch, and a photographer on the ledge. The rock illuminated by the rising sun looks more vibrant and has more depth than the rock in the shade. The dark clouds set off the red fin much better than a pale-blue sky would.

North and South Windows at dawn

Finally,  Turret Arch framed by North Window.

Turret Arch through North Window

I was happy with my decision to climb out to the ledge to photograph the rising sun shining on the red rock of North Window. I was lucky that those guys were on the ledge that morning. Thinking back, my photos of a sunrise at Haleakala were the same — photos of the sun were relatively uninteresting, but I liked a photo of a nearby red hill.


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I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

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