Third Tide’s the Charm

Since my first attempt, I have twice wanted to wake up for a Botany Bay sunrise. Both times, I was too tired to wipe the sleep from my eyes; the will to wake up for the magic of sunrise apparently lessens with age. Not wanting to lose a third time, I set my mind to making the hourlong trip. Judging from the colors in the sky, it seemed the results wouldn’t be so different from those of the first shoot: like last time, it began with a muted blue-grey sky; turbulent Atlantic waves; a dash of yellow and orange on the horizon; and the grim, stoic trees that withstand this ebb and flow 365 days a year.

Botany Bay-1

Historically, I’ve only looked at the weather forecast and cloud cover to decide if a sunrise shoot might be colorfully productive. I certainly haven’t found a good way to anticipate the “right” clouds being available, but this morning the cloud cover forecast from NOAA suggested that I’d have a decent chance of catching some good light. This forecast I read correctly enough.

Botany Bay-2

After getting my feet soaked in 2012, I added the tide chart to my original two criteria; it didn’t take long to realize that sometimes the moon sets its will against getting to a desired location by filling the gap with ocean. The two times I slept in both had a good cloud forecast and a sunrise occurring near low tide, but this time sunrise was two hours before high tide. Or was supposed to be.

When I arrived at the beach, the sixty feet of beach I roamed the first trip had shrunk to twenty, and by the time I started to pack up and leave, the water level was less than ten feet from dry refuge. Given that a fair number of trees poke into the ocean, rendering the ten feet completely moot, I considered myself lucky to have stayed dry. Until the very end of the voyage back, anyhow. I had ridden my bike to shorten the travel time from the parking lot to the beachhead, and with the limited beach real estate on the return, I decided to duck under a branch instead of going around a sunken tree. My head made it under but my tripod snagged, and losing balance I put my foot down… in the Atlantic. (My foot got wet.) When I left the park, I checked the information board: apparently high tide was one hour after sunrise, not two. Whoops. Next time — or the third next time, I suppose — I’ll consider the the tide predictions more conservatively.

Nevertheless, it was a wonder and a delight to see a sunrise again. The sand on Charleston beaches is no match for Hawaii or the Bahamas or Mexico or Miami, but there’s a particular allure to waking up before the rest of the world to see (and today feel) the forces of nature create a masterpiece of light and color. The crashing of the waves somehow fades into silence as the sky flashes shades of blue, red, and orange; this is a spectacle worth seeing and experiencing again and again… no matter how soaked I get in the process.

Botany Bay-3 Botany Bay-4

Third Tide’s the Charm

2 thoughts on “Third Tide’s the Charm

  1. Third “tide” indeed was the charm. Nice capture of the glorious golden light breaking through and the colorful conditions leading up to it.

    When did you go and get these shots? In the last few days?

  2. Tigerotor77W says:

    Hi Chuck!

    Thanks for the comments. It was a great sight, though between the creeping water and haphazard post-processing I’m not sure I brought out everything my eyes saw!

    I went yesterday (Sunday) morning. The cloud cover was forecasted at around 60%, which (depending on the types of clouds) is a good bet for having a color sunrise / sunset.

Type your comment here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s