April 28, 2013

It Takes A Village To Raise A Sunrise

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — geoff @ 9:58 am

Good morning and greetings, landscape fans. You know, it’s not easy being a sunrise photographer. It requires a strong commitment and immense dedication, as one must be ready to go to work close to one third of the year. It’s an unusual situation when your work day comes to an end before most people have separated themselves from their dreams.

It was Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, known to his friends as Buddha, who said, “Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart and soul’s inspiration give yourself to it.” Wise words from the holy sage, who was also a hell of a first baseman.

So in living the sunrise life, four months of the year become sacred times, when there’s the possibility of the sky lighting up like a Hanukah menorah. The early Aztecs said, right before they were massacred by the Conquistadors, “if you do something you love, then it’s not work.” Furthermore, Irish poet Oscar Wilde once quoted between sips that “I put all my genius into my life: I put only my talent into my works.” After consulting with Confucious, I still have no idea where he was going with that.

I don’t consider taking pictures of a sunrise, sunset or a baby porcupine hard work. It’s a labor of love having the privilege to photograph God’s magnificence. That is, when he isn’t slamming the coast with that damn marine layer. To shoot a good sunrise takes some preplanning, a little bit of luck, and most importantly, a camera which a charged battery.

Donald Kendall, the former CEO of Pepsi Cola, once said to his neighbor that “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” I can relate to those words, as there have been a few times in my life that I have decided to take the Pepsi Challenge. Later on, I regretted some of these actions. I would have been much better off sitting back and having a Coke and a smile.

So this being late April, I’ve been slowly weened from photographing the delightful action from above, as the spring skies have been duller than a Taliban group therapy session. I didn’t get into this business for the money, as much like Henny Youngman, “I’ve got all the money I’ll ever need, if I die by four o’clock.” No, photographing sunrises and sunsets has been like the gift that keeps on giving. I’ve never thought of it as work. Which is good, because who wants to let something so pure be tainted by money? I’ve never got caught up in the commercialization, which is why I would never mention that my photos are available for sale right now on my website, www.SunriseSantaCruz.com, and would make lovely Mother’s Day gifts. That would be way too tacky.

No, I just do it for the pure joy and the artistic integrity. I’m not competing with anyone, although my Rabbi has stated on the record that I could be the most prolific sunrise photographer in the country. Well, I’m not saying I am, (yes, I am), but I would be honored to just be considered a candidate for the Jewish sunrise photographers Hall of Fame. And from what I hear, entry into this exclusive club involves receiving is a five pack box of Yehuda Passover matzos, rated #1 best tasting matzo by the San Francisco Chronicle, as tested by culinary experts and chefs in a blind tasting panel. If that’s the case, how did they find their way to the building?

So these days, I’m just photographing flowers and bunnies and filling future blogs will glorious moments from the past. They say you can’t put your arm around a memory, but when I go to my computer and look over sunrises and sunsets past, I reexperience the joy of the moment and it is glorious. And then I sob uncontrollably for a while, but I’m working on that.

I love what I do and don’t believe it will ever get old. And the best part is there no deadlines, just headlines. In the words of ventroloquist Edgar Bergen, “Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?” Charlie McCarthy couldn’t have said it better, although I was always more of a Knucklehead Smith fan.

So for today’s photo fare, we are heading back to the morning of February 16, 2013. I had slept the night before in a toaster, so I woke up and popped out of bed to a fantastic sunrise. I was all over the terrain that morning, as I shot images of this dawn beauty from more locations than Jamba Juices on the central coast.

The morning color in the sky over Monterey Bay and Steamers Lane was just spectacular. This was one of those classic Santa Cruz mornings were everything was right in the digital world. After that my day was off and running.

So this is my philosophy. “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. I knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or gazelle…when this sun comes up, you better be running.” Or as big game hunter Groucho Marx once told Zeppo, “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.”

On to some late night humor. “U.S. intelligence agencies have put together a psychological profile of Kim Jong Un. They say he’s a narcissist, and he is obsessed with Hollywood, obsessed with plastic surgery, and obsessed with the NBA. It’s a condition we know as ‘Kardashianism.’” –Jay Leno “You’re probably saying to yourselves, “What big American pointless cultural event is coming up in a couple of days?” The NFL Draft, of course. The New York Jets say they will take the best athlete possible in the draft. They’re going to take the best athlete available. It’s the same strategy the Kardashian sisters use.” – David Letterman

“You know what the worst job in America is? It’s newspaper reporter. I guess the pollsters forgot to ask the guy who cleans the toilets at Dodger Stadium how things are going for him. The Internet celebrated a major milestone yesterday. It’s the eighth anniversary of the very first video uploaded to YouTube. YouTube was founded in 2005 by a small group of visionaries who asked the question, “What if nobody in America ever got anything done ever again?” – Jimmy Kimmel.

So that’s our last blast for April 2013. The roses are exploding in my front yard so get ready for some May flower power. We’ll catch you scoring 34 points on Saturday while putting on one of the greatest fourth quarter playoff performances in NBA history. Aloha, mahalo and later, Nate Robinson fans.


  1. If sunrise season is over, maybe it’s time to venture into new territory. Family portraits? Weddings? Paparazzi with a side of ziti?

    Comment by Andrew Bogut — April 29, 2013 @ 8:25 am

  2. All those photos were from one day?
    What a day!!!!

    Comment by Wendi — April 30, 2013 @ 8:01 am

  3. Until now, I never really understood the beauty of Sunrise and Sunset.

    Comment by Tevye — April 30, 2013 @ 8:52 pm

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