What it feels like to be above the clouds during sunrise [banger alert]

Sunrise, Sunrise, everything you hear is "S U N R I S E". I am getting you on that point. I am a lot of times on sunrise missions. The reasons for this are simple:

  • I like to get up early, because even as a kid, I always thought that I would miss something, when i had to go to bed.
  • I love to breathe in fresh cold air, because it makes me feel alive.
  • From a photographic view, there is nothing I am hating more than crowded places and the use of correction tools to remove people from amazing looking places.
  • I have a lot of friends, who are into photography, who think and feel the same as I do.
  • The Nationalpark, called "Saxon Switzerland", is just around the corner.

Combine all of that and you will know why you hear me talking about sunrise hikes all day long.

Here is a (hopefully) short story about one of our hikes, which was a little different than we epected it to be.

Preparation Period

Sometimes it is not that easy to gather some people, who are like-minded AND willing to wake up at an inhuman time.

  1. Step one, always is to find those crazy people, who want to join a 2am trip to the nationalpark.
  2. Step two: Who will be bringing the coffee?! Chose wisely and name the one, who has the biggest....thermos bottle.
  3. Third and most critical decision you have to take care of: Who will be the driver? TBH, nobody wants to be the driver, because everybody wants to catch some sleep on the way and especially on the way back.
  4. Make clear rules, what will happen, if somebody sleeps to long or simply does not hear the alert (or is lazy): Point out a fixed time and location where you want to meet each other for starting the trip. Who is not showing off in time, will be left back home as nothing is more worse than missing the best light ;)
  5. Camera, batteries (loads of them as the low temperature can lead the batteries to die faster than usual), lenses, maybe a tripod, flashlight, bottle of water, cups for the coffee, a blanket, shooting accessories for shooting (like candles, fairy lights, hats or a lantern)

Our Story

Everything was checked off the list, alarms on 2am were set...good night. Four hours later, I found myself sitting in a car with Pat (driver and coffee president), Susann, Toni. We headed in direction of the "Saxon Switzerland" for a spot, all of us have never been to before. 35 kilometers, one and a half hour and multiple power naps later...parking the car.

As we got out of the car, we saw nothing but the pitch black nothing. It was cold. Cold like "I rather put on anther sweater". CLICK, CLICK, CLICK...flashlight. Suddenly, we found ourselves in the middle of the thick fog, which enwrapped everything, including us. Why was it raining tho? I mean, we started under a starry sky and haven't seen any clouds on our way. After some meters deeper into the fog and in direction of the climb-out, we realised that the rain-dropping-noises weren't rain drops at all. Thank god, I was attentive at school in Physics. We just found out that the heavy fog with its attached humidity condensed on the leafs, which cause the falling of "rain drops".

The hike to the top of the spot, called "Kleiner Winterberg", was really exhausting. It was pretty hard to breathe normally as the thick air, filled with loads of small water particles, wasn't able to deliver us the amount of oxygen, we needed. I was completely done half way. Pat, our driver and the only filmmaker in our sunrise squad, was carrying at least 20kg of gear, as he brought his cable cam for a scene lapse he wanted to shoot for a german region marketing agency.

After infinite steps upwards, roaming through darkness, not seeing anything but the small beam of light, coming from our flash lights and also some wild animal noises, we finally reached the top of the mountain of our desire.

As words could not describe what we have been witnessing after a short coffee break and building up our gear (especially Pat's cable cam for the timelapse), just take your time and have a look on the footage I came back with.

BTW: Remember the "rain drop"-like noise I wrote about before? The crazy thing was, that we have still heard that, when we have been on the top of the rock formation. Imagine standing on the edge...you see nothing but fog under you and hear those rain-forest-like noises from underneath.