‘Michael, if you want to see the sunrise you’d better get up’ my brother in law said in hushed tones drawing me from my groggy state to full awareness in just a few seconds. Flashbacks of camping in Japan waking up at three a.m. flew in front of my eyes as they adjusted to the near pitch black conditions of our winterfied abode (read windows covered to prevent loss of heat). ‘That’s right,’ I said to myself, ‘sunrise. Must get up…’ The warm bed begged me to stay but I quickly shrugged off its tender embrace and drew myself upright. ‘Ughh…hope this is worth it,’ repeated over and over in my head as I threw on clothes in a rush to get ready.
The previous day I had awoken to a chill yet annoying alarm to see the sunrise over the scenic lake. Adrenaline flooded my system from the first bars of my iPod Touch’s Maramba and I was up like a shot and outside in less than ten minutes with my tripod slung over a shoulder.
As I stood there the thin wisps of cloud that had been just peaking over the horizon when I got outside came closer and closer until they covered the whole sky. Needless to say that kind of put a damper on seeing a sunrise over Lake Vermilion. Clouds at the right altitude and of the right thickness can really put life into photographs of sunrise but these one were just plain mean and killed the whole thing. A call from my family stirring inside the cabin preparing breakfast let me know it was time to eat and with only a few regretful looks back at the distant tree line I made my way back in.
So this morning I took my time, that was, until I climbed the stairs to the main floor and saw it flooded with the warm reds and oranges of a proper sunrise. After that it was a blur of motion to get out on the snow covered ice and get shooting.
Luckily I was present enough to put on a lot of warm clothing because the temperature that winter morning on Lake Vermilion was something like -20 Fahrenheit, though I barely noticed it as I surged from here to there looking for a good picture.
Wading through snow that went up to my knee and sometimes further with my tripod held in glove protected hands that did little to keep the frozen metal from making my hands tingle I snapped shot after shot.
Finally my sleepy mind and chilled body could take no more and so I just stood staring out across the lake at the red-orange globe that banished purple and blue as it rose quickly from it’s resting place. My camera sitting smugly on its tripod next to me oblivious of the cold and majestic view was silent as I took it all in.
Pain from my extremities, namely my fingers, let me know that it was time to go in. Frozen to the icy lake it was hard to pull myself away but inside my heart I knew it was time to go in.
With one final backward look I shuffled through the snow to the roaring fire and loving family that awaited me at the cabin.
America’s great white north indeed.