I love the start of the day. The time before dawn has fully emerged and most people are still considering whether to ignore that irritating alarm or commit themselves to getting out of bed. There is something very special about being out and about while everyone else sleeps. The city feels a very different place in those dawn hours and the atmosphere it creates can be a world away from the busy and frantic streets during the day.
The whole city takes on a constantly evolving mood as the year moves forward. From the freezing fog and low cloud of the winter months, which shroud the buildings and spires in mist and creates an eerie and almost mystical atmosphere right through to the spring and summer months where the sun rises early and baths the city in a golden light, almost like a volcano erupting in the distance.
These three images were taken on such a golden morning. I'd wanted to capture a sunset for a long while but never seemed to be in the right place at the right time to do so. Finally, on a slightly cloudy morning in late September that free time became available. The next job was to find the best location to capture the sunset. I wanted somewhere as high as possible which would provide the best view of the sky with an uninterrupted view of the horizon - in order to capture the moment the sun appeared, as if from no where. I choose the top of a multi-storey car park in the heart of the city. The Grand Arcade (you can see the top of the its glass roof on the photos).
Arriving at the car park at around 6.30 that morning I headed to the very top floor and the only one which is out in the open. The sun was luckily no where to be seen as I parked up and I had around 20 minutes to get my tripod set up and to decide on the best place to position myself. I tried a few test shots to get the right exposure and iso levels and then waited for the sky to turn from inky blue to golden orange. At around 7.15 the first signs of light appeared on the horizon and it wasn't long before the whole sky was bathed in a bright golden glow; as though someone had lit some enormous fire. It was an incredible sight. Once it started I was surprised just how quickly it revealed itself. It was only few minutes before the main event, the sun itself was moving up the sky.
Through this I was constantly taking shots - I would take several bursts for a few seconds (using a remote shutter release) to make avoid messing up the perfect shot and several times repositioned the camera and tripod to get a slightly different viewpoint. Half an hour later it was all over...
I search through the images taken (over 100 of them) and choose the three shown as the best. With the exception of some artefact removal the photos are completely unchanged. The colours and deep tones are exactly as the appeared through the camera.
Taken with a Canon600d with a Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM / iso100 / F22