The best time of the day

If I were on the way to a wildlife shoot in this in summer country and witnessed this view there is a fair chance that I would be running late.

Sunrise over the M4

Many people say that sunrise and dawn is the best time of day, and to many it probably is, and to a wildlife cameraperson it definitely is.  It does slightly bug me when people say, ‘Ah best time of the day…’ when you know full well that the last time they saw the sun come up was on the way back from a heavy night out in Cardiff.

There is a dilemma that I have with sunrise.  It really is very early in summer, coming in before 5.00 a.m.  Follow that with a long filming day and you know you’ve been at work by the time you hit the sack.

Over the years there have been many vociferous campaigns to ‘move our clocks’ around a bit so that sunrise effectively comes later and so does sunset, so that amongst other things we can have those long, balmy summer evenings that stretch all the way to bedtime.  I can see all sides of the argument.

There is one thing that we would lose as a result of moving the clocks around, and I’m talking selfishly from a wildlife cameraman perspective.  It is this: sunrise would lose its exclusivity.  It is a fact that if you’re out filming before and at the time of sunrise you will meet hardly a soul.  That is the beauty of being out at that ridiculously early time of the day.  Hardly anyone gets up that early unless they have to get to work (that includes wildlife camera people) or suffer from insomnia.  You experience the least amount of traffic, the fewest number of dog walkers, and the maximum singing birds count.  The wildlife tends to be a bit more amenable too.  However, there is not a single motorway in the UK that adheres to these rules: they’re all madhouses most of the time.

By the way, in the picture above I was on the way to a corporate shoot in Kent, and the picture was taken by my wife.