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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 04/30/2009

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Sunrise

By Kevin Ambrose

* Full Forecast: Cloudy & Unsettled | NatCast | Climate Poetry *

Low clouds move rapidly across the eastern sky at sunrise as a strong breeze produces ripples on the Capitol Reflecting Pool, April 23, 2009. I brought my 14-year-old son on a Capital Weather Gang photo shoot for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

April 23 was Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. It was also the same day as my son's 14th birthday. I had initially planned to take him into the office, but later decided it would be more interesting and fun to take him on a Capital Weather Gang photo shoot to try and capture a Capitol sunrise. I was hoping for a memorable and unique experience.

Keep reading for a summary of the trip and more photos...

Dawn breaks at the Mall with the crescent moon visible in the eastern sky, 5:39 a.m.

My son was initially excited about the idea of a Capitol sunrise photo shoot until I told him what time we needed to wake up in the morning. He then asked to do an afternoon trip, but I assured him that sunrise would make for much nicer photos. He agreed and I set the alarm for 4:30 a.m. Ouch.

I awoke at 4 a.m., before the alarm, and prepared for the trip. I was able to get my son out of bed at 4:30 a.m. with very little effort and we were on the road by 4:45 a.m. We stopped for a quick snack and proceeded on our journey. Traffic is not much of a factor at that hour and we arrived on the Mall about 5:30 a.m., just in time to see a beautiful dawn break behind the Capitol. Dawn is a wonderful time to shoot photos in D.C., with the manmade lights of the monuments and landmarks balancing equally with the natural light in the sky. Dawn on April 23 was particularly nice, with the crescent moon positioned low in the sky and a departing cloud bank helping to add color.

The sun rises over the Capitol as the sky clears.

We photographed the dawn's colorful sky from the middle of the Mall, then moved to the Capitol Reflecting Pool to shoot the sunrise. The minutes leading up to sunrise, which is usually the best time for capturing color in the sky, were particularly poor as much of the cloud cover had retreated east and the sky was pale yellow. But just as the sun was beginning to rise, a belt of low clouds raced across the eastern sky, dimming the sun's light and instantly adding color and definition to what had been a rather bland sunrise. The color only lasted for a few moments, but that's all we needed to capture a colorful sunrise photo (the first photo in this post).

Sunrise exercises at the Capitol. I think these are Marines, but I am not positive.

We stayed on the Mall for a while after sunrise, taking pictures of each other, ducks, a group of Marines (I think) doing their morning workout, and anything else that looked interesting. When we arrived back home, my son helped me select and process the photos for this post. He also has to do a write-up for his school that will include some accompanying photos.

Ultimately, it turned out to be a very nice outing with my son and he later told me that he wants to hang a framed sunrise photo from our trip on his bedroom wall. Still, going forward, I think my son will prefer to sleep in rather than join me on any future weekend sunrise shoots. Just a hunch, but I think sunrises are a bit too early for most teens.

By Kevin Ambrose  | April 30, 2009; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Photography  
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Kevin, those are beautiful photos. Great job to you and your son!

Posted by: david_in_stafford | April 30, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Looks like soldiers to me. The Marines wear green physical training gear:

Posted by: dmothe30 | April 30, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

david_in_stafford, thanks for the comment.

dmothe30, I'm not sure if they are Marines, Army, Air Force, or Navy. They have been at every Capitol sunrise that I have photographed.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | April 30, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm a teen. I get to enjoy the sunrise. Then again, I do work the night shift...

Posted by: Havoc737 | May 1, 2009 4:03 AM | Report abuse

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