I am not a morning person and when my alarm went off at 5:15 it took more than a little effort to drag myself out and about. I was worried about the weather, but at the train station I saw stars glinting here and there through the thick city night sky soup and I knew it was cloudless. But as I waited for the train, I saw the telltale glow in the east which quickly grew into the start of a salmon-colored dawn and I began to think I was not going to make it in time.
The train arrived and I climbed aboard, wedging myself in with the morning’s crop of sleepy commuting workers, having to make room for my backpack filled with a camera and my folding tripod across my lap.
It was April 19, the morning Dallashenge. I first came across this concept well over a year ago, when I read about Manhattanhenge – the day that the setting (or rising) sun lines up with the east-west street canyons of central New York. In a city (like Chicago) where the streets run exactly along the points of the compass, the henge date is on the spring and fall equinox – but in cities like New York (or Dallas) where the downtown street grid, for geologic or historical reasons, is a few degrees off-kilter, the dates will fall somewhere else.
Using the very useful website, suncalc.net, I was able to calculate the henge dates for Dallas – an evening henge falls on February 15, and a morning henge on April 19 – at about ten minutes to seven.
In February of 2012, I went downtown in the evening and took some shots of the henge. It was sort of fun. Now I wanted to do a morning “henge” and Friday, April 19th was on its way. For a long time I worked on finding a suitable perch where I could look down the long downtown streets. I thought about the parking garage and the jail, but one day I discovered that there was a walkway along the infamous triple underpass in Dealey Plaza that had a great view down main street.
After some test shots I was ready.
Despite my worries I made it down there in time. I set up my tripod and waited while the sky grew lighter and lighter. I wondered if my calculations were correct. Was I at the right place at the right time?
I was and I wasn’t. The sun did peek up right down main, but before the entire disk came up over the asphalt it had moved off to the side. I think a better photograph might come a couple days later, when the whole disk of the sun will appear over the dead center of the street.
So, maybe Sunday. I’m not sure if I can get up that early on a weekend morning… but we’ll see.