Florida sunrises that blew my mind

3 amazing sunrises from the Sunshine state

There's just something about the Sunshine State that produces stunning sunrises. And a recent trip to Florida for the first stop of the 2020 Bassmaster Elite Series event provided the perfect opportunity to capture some gorgeous sunrise photos.

The first photo (seen above) was taken right behind my hotel in Palatka on the banks of the St. Johns River. I walked out of my room about 45 minutes before sunrise to see the first hint of light breaking through the clouds. I grabbed my gear and set up to frame the sunrise with a set of iconic Florida palm trees. Palatka's Memorial Bridge and a pier added to the interest.

It was perfection when the sun broke the horizon and cast beautiful golden light across the clouds and the placid river water.


A couple of days later I was driving to Astor to begin my day of on-the-water coverage when I saw my next sunrise opportunity. 

The predawn hours had been overcast, but as I reached Yellow Bluff I could see the clouds were breaking and beginning to light up. I was ahead of schedule, so I quickly turned onto a dirt road and hurried to the shores of Lake George. This time, I chose a boat dock to add a foreground element.

The rising sun backlit the clouds on the horizon with neon orange. It was just a beautiful start to the day.

Fort Matanzas National Monument sunrise

My final sunrise came the morning I drove home, when I made the 20-minute drive to Fort Matanzas National Monument near St. Augustine.

I honestly wasn't sure what I'd get at this little piece of public property. I first set up with a palm tree in the foreground of my frame but wasn't sure I liked it. So I moved to the beach, hoping to get some crashing waves as the clouds began to color.

What I didn't count on was the East Coast tidal range, which sent me almost running farther and farther up the beach. I kept having to grab my tripod and move it as water rushed ashore. It was a disaster.

So I went back to the palm tree — and captured a really cool photo just after the sun lifted above the horizon. The image shows details of the tree and the underbrush, while also including the beach in the background.

It was the perfect ending to a perfect trip!