Panoramic Photo Of Sunrise In Altwarmbüchen, Germany

Last Saturday, Mother Nature finally did us a favor and gave us a great sunrise to take nature photos of! We’ve had a cold snap here in Hannover, Germany, during the past couple of weeks, which has meant (or perhaps has been the result of) clearer skies. Some mornings and evenings have been so cloudless, in fact, that the sunrises and sunsets have actually been big disappointments. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, a great image of the sun coming up or going down requires lots of clouds in just the right places. With no clouds being illuminated, the sky just turns a bit orange around the horizon, the sun comes up and that’s it. Not great stuff for nature photography, unfortunately!

Sky Turning Orange, Purple, Pink And Blue

Saturday was different, though. I got up a little before sunrise, had some coffee and waited by the window to see whether it would be worth heading out. I could see that the cloud formations looked promising, but I couldn’t see the horizon line because some trees and other houses were blocking it. So I had no idea if the sun would be able to light the clouds up. Being from Minnesota, I don’t mind subfreezing temperatures, but I don’t make a habit of standing around in the cold for no reason! So I definitely wanted to make sure the sunrise had a good chance of paying off. As soon as I saw some of the clouds turn a little purple, I knew I had something to work with, so I threw on some clothes, grabbed my Nikon D750 and 24-120mm lens and bolted out the door.

Sun Cutting Through The Haze And Illuminating The Sky

Over the past couple of months, the Altwarmbüchener See has been my spot of choice for taking pictures of sunrises. Not only does the lake create a more open area that offers a clearer view of the sky, the surface of the water also makes a great natural mirror that reflects the colors of a good sunrise beautifully. Especially when I take longer-exposure pictures that smooth the waves out and give the surface a glassy quality. However, the recent cold spell has caused the Altwarmbüchener See to ice over. The ice covering isn’t thick enough to walk or skate on, but it does mean that the lake no longer reflects much of anything.

Beautiful Sunrise Over Frozen Ground

So instead, I went to a field near our house. It is a place to which Anji and I went several times when we first moved to Hannover, because we wanted to photograph the dozens of hay bales spread around that field after the late-summer harvest. I figured that the relative openness of the area would give a pretty good view of the sun coming up.

Last Remnants Of A Gorgeous Sunrise

And sure enough, I had a clear look at what was shaping up to be a nice sunrise. To my surprise, the sun was already above the horizon by the time I got there, and clearly had been for more than a few minutes. Once the sun is up, the combination its light overpowering everything and the less optimal angle usually means the good shots are done, but there was enough haze on the horizon to allow for plenty of photos with brilliant oranges, fiery reds, subtle purples and deep blues before it was all over.

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