Morning Has Broken

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing
Praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world
—-Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) (born Steven Demetre Georgiou), Morning Has Broken

Sunrise, Boston, Massachusetts

I was way too tired. We had finished work the day before (a long, tough week) and treated ourselves to dinner at an Italian Restaurant in the North End (Ristorante Limoncello) some pastry (Modern Pastry shop, Mike’s was too crowded – line was down the street) and a drink at the end of the hockey game (The Black Rose). Then, when I settled down in my hotel room I discovered that HBO GO was on the TV complimentary and, against my better judgement, I watched the episode of Game of Thrones I had missed because I was flying the previous Sunday. It was getting too hard to avoid spoilers.

My flight was scheduled for eight (though, due to mechanical problems it didn’t actually leave until ten) so that meant I had to get up at five, which meant only a couple hours of sleep. I was woozy in the morning, but was treated to a glorious sunrise painting the buildings of downtown Boston a bright crimson.

Two Days Later

  • It’s even harder to get up at 5:30 on a Sunday than it is on a Friday workday.
  • There are fewer people on a train before dawn on weekends, but there are still more than you would expect.
  • A lot of people that are on the train that early on the weekend look like they are involved in sports. I guess that makes sense. It looked like an entire woman’s tournament (maybe volleyball) was going somewhere south in Dallas.
  • It’s cold before the sun comes up.
  • I estimated that the sun’s disk would rise up in the center of Main Street in Downtown Dallas two days after the official henge date.
  • I was pretty much right.
Dallashenge from the triple underpass in Dealey Plaza. This is an HDR image - three shots taken at different exposures and combined with software.

Dallashenge from the triple underpass in Dealey Plaza. This is an HDR image – three shots taken at different exposures and combined with software.

A wide angle view of Dealey Plaza at dawn on the morning henge day (or two days later). The brick building in shadow on the far left is the infamous Texas Schoolbook Depository. President Kennedy was shot on the curved road on the left, almost fifty years ago.

A wide angle view of Dealey Plaza at dawn on the morning henge day (or two days later). The brick building in shadow on the far left is the infamous Texas Schoolbook Depository. President Kennedy was shot on the curved road on the left, almost fifty years ago.

 

The sun rising in the canyons of Main Street, Dallas.

The sun rising in the canyons of Main Street, Dallas.

I took a lot of photographs in the short few seconds that the sun peeked up down Main Street. I’ll probably post some more as I post-process them.

So now I’ve done it, I don’t have to get up that early and go anymore. Well, maybe not. As I was walking back towards the train, I discovered another spot with a morning “henge” view directly down Elm street, right along the schoolbook depository. It wasn’t as scenic as main street, but had a more “canyon” appearance. Maybe next year I’ll go and shoot that one.

Morning Dallashenge – maybe a couple days early

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.

The morning Dallashenge from the Triple Underpass in Dealy Plaza. Maybe a couple days early.

The morning Dallashenge from the Triple Underpass in Dealy Plaza. Maybe a couple days early.

Morning Dallashenge from the Triple Underpass in Dealy Plaza.

Morning Dallashenge from the Triple Underpass in Dealy Plaza.