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Posted at 1:45 PM ET, 01/ 3/2011

The first sunrise of 2011

By Kevin Ambrose
Sunrise on January 1, 2011 at the Marine Corps Memorial.

I set the alarm for 5:30 a.m. on January 1 with the hope of capturing the first sunrise of 2011. The New Year's Day forecast was for clouds and showers, so I was not sure if the sunrise would be visible or obscured.

When I awoke to the alarm on New Year's morning, I was ready to punt the sunrise shoot and go back to bed. I had stayed up late with the kids to ring in the New Year and 5:30 a.m. was painfully early.

I walked to the window and viewed a star-filled sky with scattered clouds. The weather conditions looked promising for a good sunrise so I brewed a cup of coffee, packed my camera gear, and hit the road for the Marine Corps Memorial. Traffic was light and the drive down I-66 was quick and incident-free. Police cruisers were parked at intervals on the shoulder of the highway, probably still on the lookout for late-night party-goers.

Read below to see more photos and a time-lapse video of the dawn colors.

Approximately 30 minutes of video were compressed into 15 seconds to show the dawn of New Year's Day 2011.

Soon after I arrived at the Marine Corps Memorial, the growing light of dawn began to paint shades of red and yellow across the clouds on the eastern horizon. The clouds were associated with an advancing cold front to our west which would bring overcast skies and showers later in the day.

As dawn transitioned to sunrise, the eastern sky cleared and bright sunshine greeted the New Year in Washington. Within an hour after sunrise, however, clouds once again filled the sky. Later in the day, mild and fairly humid air pushed into the region ahead of the cold front. Rain showers held off until the evening hours as the cold front approached. While most of our New Year's Day was cloudy and damp, the photos in this post show that at least we had a clear, bright sunrise to kick off the New Year in Washington.

The dawn of the first day of 2011. This photograph was taken from the Netherlands Carillon.

The sunrise January 1, 2011. This photograph was taken near the Netherlands Carillon.

The sun rises during the early morning hours of January 1, 2011. This photo shows the Marine Corps Memorial, viewed through trees.

By Kevin Ambrose  | January 3, 2011; 1:45 PM ET
Categories:  Latest, Photography  
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Thanks for sharing, Kevin! sunrise is my favorite time to take photos, but I am sometimes afraid to shoot in certain places for safety reasons (girl on her own walking in the wee hours before the sunrise). I really appreciated seeing these!

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 3, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Snowlover2: Thanks for the comment. By the way, shooting sunrises and night scenes in D.C. can be worrisome at times for anyone. I've bumped into a few scary characters over the years.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | January 3, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

beautiful. Thank you.

Posted by: johnslau | January 3, 2011 10:22 PM | Report abuse

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