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Posted at 02:10 PM ET, 05/23/2012

Jefferson Memorial sunrise time-lapse and photos

An hour and 40 minutes of video were compressed into 23 seconds. Watch how the eastern sky over the Jefferson changes color as two jets dissect the sky with contrails. (Kevin Ambrose)

While we had nice weather this past weekend, a low pressure system located off of the coast of North Carolina pushed high-level clouds over much of Virginia and most of the Washington area. Meanwhile, the sky to the north and east of the city remained clear. The weather setup appeared good for a colorful sunrise.

I set the alarm for 4:10 a.m. Saturday morning (sunrises are so darn early this time of year) and I organized my cameras and tripods. I planned to shoot both video and digital stills near the Jefferson Memorial.

I arrived at the Tidal Basin at 5:20 a.m. and the colors of dawn had already started to glow on the eastern horizon. Cirrus clouds were visible across much of the sky. By 5:40 a.m., the eastern sky was filled with brilliant shades of red and yellow as the cirrus clouds glowed brightly in the rising sun’s light. It was a beautiful scene.

Continue reading to see a satellite image from Saturday and two sunrise photos...


A GOES satellite image from Saturday, May 19, shows scattered clouds over Washington and clear sky to the east and north. (NOAA)

My video camera was rolling and I clicked away with my DSLR. Another photographer from Alabama got dangerously close to my video camera and I reminded him that one bump of the tripod will completely ruin a time-lapse video. He politely acknowledged my warning and moved a short distance away.

Two jets produced contrails across the sky between 5:50 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. which later looked cool on the time lapse video. I usually don’t like contrails for still photography, but it's fine with video.


The sky glows red before sunrise on Saturday, May 19. A larger version of the photo can be found here. (Kevin Ambrose)

After 6 a.m., the sky’s color changed to a pale shade of yellow and the sun appeared above the Washington skyline.

The sun angled to the right and moved over the Jefferson Memorial. About the same time, I noticed that police were blocking off Ohio Drive and crews were setting up for a road race very close to where I had parked. I quickly stopped the video camera and I packed up my gear. I did not want to be trapped for hours by a race.

I made a clean escape while crews set up the race’s starting line. I weaved between the police cruisers and worked my way to Independence Avenue and I-66 West. Overall, it was a successful mission. With shooting sunrises, there are no guarantees.


A goose flies over the Tidal Basin as the sun rises above the Washington skyline. (Kevin Ambrose)

By  |  02:10 PM ET, 05/23/2012

Categories:  Latest, Photography

 
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