The five-thirty alarm came early and it was dark outside, very dark, but it was all necessary in order to make it to Nugget Point by sunrise. The previous night’s sunset had put on a mildly good show, but maybe sunrise would prove even better.

It had rained throughout the night and was still raining. Even though my tent had kept me dry through the torrential downpours of the West Coast, it had failed that night. My tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag were all quite wet. And it was cold, oh-so-cold.

Getting out of my sleeping bag, going out into the rain and packing up my things in the dark was the last thing I wanted to do. Well, that’s not entirely true. The last thing I wanted to do was miss a spectacular sunrise, no matter how slim the chances were of it occurring on that rainy morning. So I let out a long sigh, maybe a few, and forced myself out of the tent and into the wet.

During the twenty minute drive to Nugget Point, the weather did not show any signs of clearing up. And when I arrived at the parking lot to the trail, I simply sat there hoping something would change. Well, nothing changed.

A half hour later it had lightened up some, but it was clear that the possibility of any mildly photogenic sunrise had passed. By then, the professional photographer I had met during sunset the night before had come and gone without even stepping out of his car. I was the only one foolish enough to still be there.

Disappointed, I put the key in the ignition and prepared to continue my drive along the coast, but something stopped me. I thought about the struggle I had gone through to get to that point and hesitated to simply throw it all away. I thought about how a similar situation just a few days prior had resulted in thoroughly unimpressive photographs; however, I also realized that some of my most popular photographs were taken during or shortly after a rainstorm.

I’ll admit that this internal battle went on for at least another ten minutes. At one point, I even got out of the car only to quickly get back in. But eventually, I got myself out of the car and up the trail. And I’m proud of that.

And since I’m feeling poetic, here is the moral of the story. Life isn’t perfect. It’s messy. Sometimes we sit around all day waiting for the perfect circumstances to arrive. And if we wait, we might stay dry, but we also might miss out on creating our best work yet; work that is truly unique.

I didn’t create my best work that morning. In fact, I didn’t create anything worth sharing.

But maybe next time I will.

Photos from the Previous Night

The “nuggets” of Nugget Point have vertical striations, unlike the horizontal ones you would expect.

The moon surprised me as I was hiking back to the car.