Year of the Sunrise

Bugsy Sailor

My New Year’s Resolution is simple, to watch and photograph every sunrise of 2019.

Each day of 2019 I will wake up and chase the sunrise before all else. Along the way I’ll photograph each morning, document the direction and time of the sunrise, and journal.

Originally thought of as my sunrise journal, I decided to name this project Year of the Sunrise because it is so much more than a journal. For 2019 the sunrise has become the central focus of my world. In addition to a journal, there is photography component, focusing on time in nature, documenting where the sun was in the sky, and most of all, revolving my year around the sunrise.

This journey began in 2012. I was tired of the same old New Yearโ€™s Eve, late nights and feeling awkward at parties. Two months prior I had purchased my first car and was eager to road trip, meanwhile, my camear had just been collecitng dust. I thought, what if, rain or shine, I road trip to watch the first sunrise of the new year? The first was January 1, 2013. Now, in 2019, it has been seven consecutive New Yearโ€™s Day road trips to chase the first sunrise of the year along the Great Lakes.

Two months earlier I had bought my first car and had been eager to go on more road trips, all while my camera seemed to be collecting dust. How about, rain or shine, I take a road trip to watch the first sunrise of the new year? The first was January 1, 2013. Now, in 2019, it has been seven consecutive New Year’s Day road trips to chase the first sunrise of the year, all along the Great Lakes.

However, between one January 1st and the next, it was very rare for me to deliberate observe more than one or two additional sunrises. Going into this year I was thinking it might be time to kill this tradition to make room for others, so why not kill it in epic fashion and seek out every sunrise for an entire year.

The idea of this resolution came late on Dec 31st and I pondered over it while driving to Whitefish Point. Going to bed that night I committed to doing it for a second day. Now, I have yet to miss one this year. This is the story of how it began, but the insights are still rising.

Thanks for joining the adventure.

Stay awesome,
Bugsy Sailor

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do you go to the same location every day?
A: No. Mostly this is a Lake Superior and Upper Peninsula project, but ideally funds would be unlimited and I’d take road trips all over the place

Q: Do photos always face the sun?
A: Mostly, but not always. The number one priority is to be out in the world at sunrise being present in the day. When editing photos I don’t choose the photo that would sell best or get the most likes, I choose the photo that provides me with the most delight.

Q: How much post processing do you do?
A: Very little. I enjoy what I call honest photography. No composities, no HDR (ok I lied, there’s been one HDR photo so far), no focus stacking and no VSCO filters. I prefer photos that appear accurate to how the naked eye saw it. I’ll take out any dust spots, straighten the horizon, bring the shadows up in some instances, or maybe add a neutral density gradient afterward. In the end, the sunrise is always better in person than what appears on screen or paper.


January 1, 2013 at Au Gres, Michigan

Sunrise on Lake Huron

January 1, 2014 at Lakeport, Michigan

Sunrise on Lake Huron

January 1, 2015 at Tahquamenon Falls

Sunrise at Upper Tahquamenon Falls

January 1, 2016 at Big Bay Lighthouse

Sunrise at Big Bay Lighthouse

January 1, 2017 at Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse

January 1, 2018 at Seul Choix Light

Sunrise at Seul Choix Light

January 1, 2019 at Whitefish Point

Sunrise at Whitefish Point