It was only 5:30 in the morning, but I was already in the car and on my way down to the lake. The kitties had been fed and I had a cup of coffee sitting in the cup holder as I drove towards what eventually would be a sunrise.

There wasn’t any traffic on the road at that time of a Sunday morning and so I got there well before the sun even began to define the horizon.

I was so early, in fact, that the boat ramp hadn’t even opened up yet, so I drove further down the lake side than I had intended.

As I walked over to the eventual vantage point that I had decided on, I saw someone with a flashlight ahead of me on one of the little docks that creep out into the water.

As early as I was, someone had beaten me there and so as he saw in the sunrise fishing from the end of his little dock, so did he become part of my pictures.

By now you have probably already determined that when I say I am going to a sunrise shoot, it is actually the civil twilight that I am interested. So, I was actually on my way home by the time the sun had broken the horizon.

No, I am more interested in the defining moment when the horizon makes itself known and bears witness to the soft range of orange, red, and blue that the night sky bids adieu with.

I have attached the images at the end of this blog … hope you like the progression from dark to not-so-dark. Nature delivers beauty like nothing else in our world.

As I drove home, my mind mused with the thought of passion and how passionate I am about photography. The object of my photographs bears little relevance to my level of passion in the subject, although some clearly result in better images than others.

No, I don’t care what I photograph. I just love the capturing of a moment. Any moment. And then the second bite of the cherry later when you get to examine whatever you were pointing at. And in the form of a blog like this, I then get a third bite of the cherry by sharing with like-minded souls who appreciate the beauty of our little world.

Yes, photography is a mighty big cherry.

But it is the passion for it that gets me out of bed at a time when I would rather just role over and get a snooze. And passion is an amazing force.

Clearly the guy there before me also had a passion; in this case fishing. He sat there happily, not catching anything but just enjoying the moment.

Most of us have passions. And so we should. It doesn’t really matter what the passion is (as long as you are not a serial pedophile) because passion provides a major driving force in the lives of many to counteract laziness and experience life.

No one passion is better than the other. And the diversity of passions is part of the fabric that generates such a diverse world of experiences.

My Dad was passionate about his garden. He loved being outside. My Mom was passionate about her kids and she played an active part in the lives of the three of us.

Neither passion was more important than the other. They simply helped color the life story for both of them.

And yet one of the very interesting aspects of passion is indelibly linked to the origins of the word itself. The word is derived from the Latin “to suffer”.

On a surface level we imagine passion to be altogether a positive feeling as we imagine passionate embrace or the endless passion for the arts.

But along with the driving force that gets us to do something, passion often means that we must suffer a little along the way. For me this morning it might have been getting up a bit earlier and fighting off the mosquitoes.

For the guy at the end of the dock, perhaps it was the earful he was going to get from his wife for loving fishing more than he loves her. Who knows?

My Dad was killed by an accident that happened while engaged in his passion of gardening. My mom lived a life of stress with each failure or trouble that her children encountered.

And yet, none of us altered our passion because of the suffering.

The feeling of suffering is a price we willingly pay for doing what we enjoy most doing. Perhaps it is linked to the “no pain, no gain” phrase. That the most interesting things in life require a little pain to achieve them.

Isn’t this why love is such a powerful force for us humans. We risk (and often realize) such loss but still we seek it out. The most passionate relationships are often those with the most turbulence within them.

And ultimately those that break so destructively, are referred to as a Crime of Passion.

So, passion is very much a two edged sword. On one side being a major positive influence that helps us identify and achieve something that is so important to us. And on the other side being the instrument of risk that what we love so much might destroy us.

When I encounter alligators on a trail, I habitually try to get closer and have experienced a few instances where perhaps I have gotten too close. I have been growled at and snapped at. And perhaps one day I will be eaten by one.

But will it modify my behavior to a safer option next time? No. Because it is passion and not logic that drives me to get the shot.

A life without passion is a sad life. Some people go this route and live a very low-key existence that begins with birth, ends with death, and consists of very little in between.

Yes, they don’t feel the stress of risk, or the pain of loss. But I would argue that they then don’t feel life.

Each of us travels our own journey. Taking the moving-sidewalk through your journey gets you to the same destination, it’s true. But as I have argued many times before; life is about the journey and not the destination.

So, find your passion and pursue it. A real life requires it.