One of the biggest challenges for landscape photographers is to get up early enough to capture sunrise. Usually that means the photographer needs to be on location and ready to shoot half an hour before the sunrise. It probably also takes a while of driving to get to the location. Therefore, in order to get a sunrise shot, especially in summer when the sun comes up before 6 am, the photographer probably needs to get up around 3 am.
That is not easy when it becomes a routine.
In August, I brought my camping gears to Herman Gulch, wishing I could capture sunset and sunrise without spending too much time driving on the road. But, it turned out that I still missed both sunset and the next day sunrise.
The main reason that I didn't get the sunset or sunrise shot was because the trail was harder than I expected. It is 6.5 miles round trip trail with over 1700 feet elevation gain. The first one fourth and the last one fourth of the trail is very steep, which makes hiking with all camping gears hard. I found myself constantly need to take a break while hiking in these two parts. The middle part of the trail is relatively flat and easy.
I arrived at the trail head at 5:20 PM and it took me one hour of hiking to get the middle point where I set up my tent. After setting up my tent, I continued the trail and arrived at Herman Lake around 8:15 PM. The sun already went down but the sky was so clear so I decided to stay for a while to shoot starts and milky ways.
Around 10 pm, when I was on my way heading back to my tent, the moon silently climbed up from mountains. The moon was rising fast so I knew I needed to find some sort of foreground to compose my photo quickly. Luckily, near where I stood there were two large rocks so I used them as my foreground subjects to creat sense of depth.
The next morning sunrise was around 6:20 AM. I set an alarm to wake me up at 5 AM but I actually didn't get up until 5:30 AM. It took me more than one hour to get to Herman Lake therefore I missed the sunrise. Hope next time I can get up even earlier.