Rebecca Wilks

Rebecca Wilks; Photographer, Teacher, Yarnellian, Do-Gooder

Friday, December 5, 2014

Good Morning!

I’m really a morning person.  Really.  Sometimes, though, it’s not too easy to get out of bed.  There’s a long distance between where my feet rest in bed and where they hit the floor.  The longest.  Once I’m upright, though, I’ve literally never had any regrets about early awakenings.

I mused about this a bit in my guest post on CMSPhotography’s “You Can Sleep When You’re Dead” blog and had a comment in the same vein.  This all got me thinking of all the treasured images that never would have been if I’d hit the snooze button, so here I am writing about it.

Nope, you won’t catch me quoting the obvious self-righteous aphorisms about the virtues of early rising.  To each her own.  I’m sure there’s magic to be had at 1:00AM, but other than the odd eclipse, I’ll be missing that.
So here are a few morning images and their stories, friends.

Planet Salt
 This was my first trip to Death Valley, before the truck camper, so my husband and I had dragged ourselves out of bed at the Lodge and into the dark to the spot among the salt polygons that I’d scouted the day before.  Found near the lowest point in the United States, the beautiful geometric patterns result from repeated evaporation cycles.  At an average of 1.9 inches of rainfall per year, they were slow to form indeed.  This particular Christmas Eve, there wasn’t a cloud to be seen, so I whipped out a rented fisheye lens and interpreted the flats and rising sun on the Panamint Mountains in an unusual way.  I call this one Planet Salt.

Moonset, Sierra Nevada
Sunrise comes early in the Owens Valley in late April.  My friends and I were hoping for spectacular light on the Sierra Nevada Mountains at sunrise, but as we were standing in the reeds at the banks of the Owens River, we realized that the setting moon was going to hunker down into a cleft in the crags.  I changed lenses and jogged along to my left a bit and ended up with this.  I’m fond of the image, and Shutterbug Magazine used it as a Facebook Cover Photo for a few weeks.

Downtown Phoenix Morning
I’m always looking for good vantage points on downtown Phoenix.  This one presented itself as I was cruising Google Earth; the roof of the terminal four parking garage at the airport.  It was a simple matter to find the morning that the full moon set at the right angle for this image. I figured that the worst case scenario would be a visit from airport security.  I got all set up in the corner right in front of a security camera and waved at it.  I suppose I didn’t look too dangerous, because there were no visitors.  I was pleased that aircraft were landing from the west so that this one could balance the composition for me.  The $5 for parking was a bargain indeed.

Monument Valley, AZ
I’d been running around with a small group KerrickJames workshop last August.  We’d had a lot of fun, but also had some trouble.  One morning in particular we hiked in the rain, hoping the storm would break, only to come out of the trees to the storm’s first lightning strikes, uncomfortably close.  We turned right around and slogged through the mud back to the vehicles.  I believe the proper technical description is that we were “skunked.”  Later in the week, this morning at Monument Valley wasn’t looking too good either, and I was sorely tempted to sleep in.  But what if my friends got something good that I missed?  We met our Navajo Guide and headed out.  Looking at the sky, we thought we’d wasted another morning.  We shot in the dull light and ultimately ended up with just a minute or so to shoot the color, texture, and clouds.  It was long enough.  This morning felt like karma.

Thanks for the visit.  Maybe I’ll see you out there one morning.

More images, from all hours of the day, are at

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