Make Ready for the Dawn Raids !

Morning all. Currently 6.05am on Saturday morning. Why am I up at this (for some) ungodly hour? Well it’s time for a spot of photography of course.  It’s been so long since I afforded myself the chance to head out, early doors, to do a Dawn Raid. Quite excited.

Although I’m not planning on going too far (just into Cambridge as it would happen) there is still some planning and preparation to ensure I can make the most of the trip. Here are a few tips.

  • Pack and check all of your photography kit the night before. Now I know this may go without saying, but I’ve tried on a few occasions to simply wake up and hit the road. More often than not these trips end up with me scrabbling (noisily) around the house looking for at least one bit of kit. This check would of course include the necessary charging of all kit. Pack a torch. Charge your iPhone / iPod. Taking food. Get it ready.
  • Get better at understanding the weather. Anyone can look at a weather map and see if it’s going to be wet or dry. The photographer however needs to be able to plan days in advance, taking into consideration sunrise time, expected cloud cover, wind, mist, frost etc .. Don’t just take a quick snapshot of the weather. Instead drill down. Go local (not national). Pay attention to the hourly forecast. And remember to check it again in the morning before you leave, just in case things have changed.
  • Related to the above, plan the logistics of sunrise (if that’s the type of shot you want to get). If it takes you an hour to get to where you need to be, then plan an extra hour on top of that. This will not only allow you time to get factor in any unforeseen delays and get setup, but also catch some of the pre-sunrise light, which can actually be pretty spectacular.
  • Plan time doing photography reconnaissance. This point is especially true if you have limited experience of the area. If you are planning a sunrise shot then it can help greatly if you have visited the area at least once before. Make some notes. Places to park? Remember you are most likely going to be walking to your spot in the dark. I’ve actually started to create a Google Map of potentially interesting places to photo. I need to start adding notes to these in regards to other factors that may help make a good photo, great.
  • Pack supplies. You may be out for quite some time, so pack yourself some supplies. Also worth paying attention to local places to eat. I mean it’s nice having some breakfast bar in the pocket, but nothing beats a full english after a morning of photography.
  • Tell someone where you are going. Again especially true if you are heading out to a remote location. At least if you do get into difficulties someone should be able to point whoever needs to know to your approximate location.

So those are my tips for getting ready for a Dawn Raid. Hopefully, some of these, help make your next early morning photography adventure a bit more successful.

Now where’s that coffee !

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