My Top 5 Sunrise Photos

Amazing sunrises from across the U.S.

Nothing beats a beautiful sunrise! To be outside watching the first light of day as it colors the sky above is one of my favorite things, and my online print gallery is full of gorgeous sunrises.

Do I have favorite sunrise photos? Glad you asked! Below are my Top 5 sunrises from my gallery:

No. 5: Brasstown Bald Mists

The lower Appalachian Mountains is one of my happy places because I spent so much time in the region as a kid. However, I'd never been to the Nantahala Mountains of Georgia until 2018 while helping cover a Bassmaster fishing tournament.

One of my assignments was to put together a photo gallery of the area's sites, and my plan was to take in the sunrise from above Lake Chatuge. However, when I arrived the gate to the park was locked.

With less than an hour remaining before sunrise, I sped through the North Georgia backroads to a Brasstown Bald — the highest point in Georgia.

Getting to the parking lot in time was just half the battle: I still had to hike the steep half-mile trail to the observatory tower. I almost jogged up, with about 25 pounds of equipment in my backpack. It was brutal.

The effort was well worth it, however, when the sun cast beautiful light through the mists of the mountains below.

I just love the contrasts between the sunlight and the shadows behind the ridges in this beautiful print!

No. 4: Morning in the swamp

I'm a South Louisiana boy, and the means the swamps hold a special place in my heart. I was standing waist deep in the Lake Maurepas swamp back in 2015 with hazy clouds above. 

I chose this line of Spanish moss-draped cypress trees to create an iconic Louisiana swamp scene, using an app to reveal exactly where the sun would pop over the horizon. I set up so the sun could be scene between two of the trees.

And when the sun creeped above the far horizon it showed through the haze as a perfect ball, casting unbelievable colors across the sky.

I've shot a number of sunrises from this spot, but this is definitely my fav.

No. 3: Cloudland Canyon Sunrise

I actually didn't think this sunrise would turn into a winner. My wife and I were staying at Georgia's wonderful Cloudland Canyon State Park and headed to the main overlook after seeing wonderful clouds in the predawn skies.

However, the promise seemed to turn sour as official sunrise came and went without any real color. Hey, it happens.

So I walked over and sat down next to my wife to enjoy some coffee — and the clouds suddenly lighted up with the neon colors above.

I almost spilled my coffee (almost, mind you) getting back to my camera, which I fortunately had left on the tripod.

To have shared it with my wife made it even more special.

No. 2: Lighting the Way

I work on a team covering Bassmaster fishing tournaments, and that offers me the opportunity to see amazing sunrises all over the United States. On this particular day I was bobbing around Michigan's Lake St. Clair in a boat waiting for anglers to show up.

The sun peaked over the horizon's haze as a nice round ball, and I told my boater to start positioning the sun behind the old St. Clair River Lighthouse.

I used a long lens to compress the scene, capturing the sun positioned so it lighted up the lighthouses light chamber. It was perfect!

The tournament day began, but I knew I had a real winner just waiting to be worked up.

No. 1: Sunrise Utopia

I was in New York in 2020 to help cover a Bassmaster Elite Series event, and I was amazed by the quality of the light in the Upstate region. Every sunrise was magical.

On this particular morning I woe up at 4 a.m. and had plenty of time before the event began. So I headed to the marina to watch the sunrise.

The clouds were absolutely perfect, and the first colors of the morning pointed toward another gorgeous sunrise.

I walked out onto the dock and set up to include the name of this boat in the frame — a perfect encapsulation of my feelings about the amazing sunrise!

bonus: New Year Rising

OK, so I promised my Top 5 favorite sunrises - but I had to include this amazing sunrise over the Louisiana swamp!

It's actually one of my latest works, taken New Year's Day 2021 while floating around in Lake Henderson Swamp between Baton Rouge and Lafayette. The wind was howling, so using a tripod wasn't necessary (I had to stop the motion of the moss blowing in the wind).

But the clouds were simply amazing, so when the sun approached the horizon they lighted up with gorgeous colors.

What a great way to start 2021!