It’s quite visible from my photos, that I quite often take at in the early morning and around sunrise. And you may be wondering why I do it, so today I will go through few points why to, or why to not go out to take photos so early in the morning.

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Why yes

The light is different

You will see that right away. Same as with sunsets and evening blue hours, you have two very distinct times to shoo. But especially in the cities, there are not so many lights on in the morning, so there is much less light pollution. Like this, the light is different, and also the sunrise can create much dominant colors than the sunset.

Additionally, quite often due to the lower temperature during night, the weather conditions change. Quite often, especially when it’s too cloudy in the evening, the clouds break during the night, and you get the best sunrise sky.
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There are no tourists

This is a huge thing, especially on popular spots. If you don’t want to have people in your photos, going to shoot very early will almost guarantee that you will have none. There are of course few exceptions, like for instance the Charles bridge in Prague, where you will always have someone there, but still, it will be only few instead of hundreds.

You won’t be disturbed

Another great thing is, especially in bigger cities, that early in the morning you wont be stopped from using a tripod. A chance that a security guard will go out and stop you during sunrise, is almost 0.

Long exposures reflectionsVery little traffic

Similar to very few people, you will also get very little traffic, if the sunrise is very early. Again, this will help you having more calmer photos, with few or no cars in them.

Why no

It’s very early

The biggest problem of course is, that you will have to get up very early. One gets absolutely no sleep, especially if you did sunset shooting the day before.

The lights may not be on

This can be a good and also a bad thing. There are normally two kinds of lights in cities. One are street illumination, and the second illuminate landmarks. Int he morning, the landmarks lights are usually off. So no lights shining on castles, statues, towers and similar. This may be great, if the lights were in you way in the evening, but may be bad if you wanted them in the photo.

Fisherman an the BridgeI know..I know.. another one of the Charles bridge. But if you had a photo like this, wouldn't you share it? :)The street lamps are usually great for a photo, but one has to be careful with he timing, as they are also turned off usually moments before sunrise (different in every city).

Places may not be accessible

One quite often problem could be, that some places are just not accessible during morning. There are especially public places, like gardens, parks, viewing platforms and similar, that can be closed during very early morning hours. If you are not sure, better to find out before hand.

Big BenIt’s creepy

This is something one has to get used to, especially if you plan to go out alone. I do it all the time, and it still feels strange sometime. You just have to imagine the situation, where you are alone in a place, that is normally full of people. It’s empty, it’s very quiet and you notice every single movement around you.

Even taking all this into account, I still feel it’s worth it, especially if you are somewhere only for a short amount of time. Going out taking photos also in the morning, will double you chances to get a nice blue hour/sunrise/sunset shot and that that is worth it :)

Btw. all photos in this post are early morning shots :)


While being in Netherlands, I also was in Arnhem again, but just for one evening. And since I got a new Canon 8-15mm f4 fisheye lens recently, I thought I give it a try there. It’s hard to get a full reflection of the John Frost bridge with a normal lens (16mm is not wide enough from this spot), but the fisheye had no problem getting it all in at one time :)

The bridge has all these crazy colors at night. The lights actually change quite often, but the green ones are quite dominant, so they are seen the most in a long exposure. Btw. the strong colors are not due to HDR, but due to the strength of the lights :). I also corrected the distortion only partially here, as I liked the look of it.

Late night Amsterdam

Technique: Oloneo Photoengine, Number of exposures: 4, Camera Model: Canon EOS 5D mark II, Lens: Canon 8-45mm F4, Focal length: 13mm, Aperture: 9, Middle exposure time: 25s, ISO: 200, Tripod used: yes, Location: 51.974265,5.911757

Sony A7RSo today I did a little shopping, and got myself a new camera. And since it’s better than the Canon 5D mark II I had before, this is now my main camera, the Sony a7R.

You may be curious how I was choosing my new camera, so I will elaborate a little here. There are not many things I need from a camera. Actually it’s only two. Hight megapixel count and high dynamic range. Other than that, I don’t need much. I don’t use autofocus. I don’t use high iso. I usually don’t take videos. So the two are my main points I’m looking at.

Sony A7RSecondly, I needed something where I would still can use the old 5D mark II as a backup camera, so it had to be using Canon lenses. So no chance for a Nikon camera here (even if the Nikon D810 looks very nice :))

So in the end my choices were a Canon 5D mark III, Canon 5Ds r and a Sony a7R. The 5D mark III was removed from the selection immediately, as it gives me almost nothing new compared to the 5D mark II. So I ended with two cameras to choose from. And here is where price came into account. The 5Ds r gives me 14 megapixels more with a worse dynamic range than the a7R for double the price. And for me, that just not enough for so much money. So I ended with the only possible option, the a7R.

Sony A7RYou may also ask why I didn’t waited for the a7R II. The reason is that I needed a backup camera. Recently I used a Canon 7D as a backup, but that’s not so great, as all my lenses are for full frame, and if I had to use it, the results would be worse. So now the 5D mark II will stay as a backup, which is a much better situation :) The A7R II may not be that far away, but until its widely available, it still will be months.

I of course also got a lens adaptor for the new camera, the Metabones Canon EF to Sony E ver IV. Will have to do some testing to see how all works together, but I hope all should be fine, and I get some great shots from this camera :)

Btw. doesn’t it look funny with a big lens on it? And this is just the 16-35, which is still a small lens :)


The lack of sleep through the last week has really funny effects on me. Today I’m in a half sleep state the whole day. It even happened to me today, that I walked into a bank, and only after the clerk told me that I don’t have an account there, I realized I’m not in the correct bank. I did feel really stupid :).

But slowly I have to start working on the photos from Amsterdam, so here you have a new one, taken late night the fist day I was there. I really liked the reflection, but it’s hard to get it during the day. There are just too many ships passing through this spot, to get a calm enough water. It’s much better in the morning, or late at night.

This is a HDR from 4 exposures, created in Oloneo Photoengine.

Late night Amsterdam

Technique: Oloneo Photoengine, Number of exposures: 4, Camera Model: Canon EOS 5D mark II, Lens: Canon 16-35mm F2.8, Focal length: 16mm, Aperture: 6.3, Middle exposure time: 32s, ISO: 200, Tripod used: yes, Location: 52.375678,4.900168

I just got home around a hour ago, but of course the first thing I did was to copy some of the photos onto my pc, so I could edit one for the blog :) And here it is.

This is an early morning shot of the I Amsterdam sign, as this was the only time one could have it without any people. This is a HDR from 4 exposure, created in Oloneo Photoengine.

April weather

Technique: Oloneo Photoengine, Number of exposures: 4, Camera Model: Canon EOS 5D mark II, Lens: Canon 70-200mm F2.8 IS II, Focal length: 130mm, Aperture: 3.5, Middle exposure time: 1.6s, ISO: 200, Tripod used: yes, Location: 52.358406,4.883084