Jeff Smallwood Photography
Dawn Is Worth More Than 98¢
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Feb 29, 2012

Why the title? Answer is at the bottom.

I was surprised by the appearance of the sun this particular morning. As you can see in the shot, the sun is just barely peaking above the horizon. I knew it was close to sunrise but I wasn't watching the clock and I assumed (incorrectly) that I'd get a little bit of a hint by watching the brightness. I was busy shooting and just happened to look up and catch the first crack of dawn. Luckily I already had this shot composed, I think the sliver of sun just added a lucky spot to it.

This was the only sunrise I can recall where there was absolutely zero hint of exactly where the sun would come up. Sure, there's a subtle additional glow on the left more than the right, but there was no way to tell the exact spot where the sun was going to come up. Almost a completely clear morning and the gray-purple band along the horizon didn't even give up the sun's location, not one bit.

So, why is dawn worth more than 98¢ ? I left the house in the dark in order to make it down to the end of Ocean City and get to the pier before the first light of day. For anyone that's been to Ocean City, MD, you know the main drag along the coast is packed with cars, people, shops, lights, hotels, motels, and marquees for over a hundred blocks in the summer. This early winter morning I passed exactly two cars on the entire stretch, from Delaware to the southern inlet...two cars! About half way to the inlet I passed a big lighted marquee in front of a drug store. It was one of those rotating messages announcing the latest product sales. As I pass it in the dark, on my way to catch sunrise photos, the marquee comes up and says "Dawn, $.98". I immediately thought "why does this sign have something on there about sunrise?" For a brief moment I felt like Steve Martin in "L.A. Story". Then it hit me...ooooooh, detergent.

I still think they got it wrong, dawn is worth way more than 98¢.

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