12.11.16: Florida sunrise

The sun rises behind Newport Fishing Pier in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla.


Technical information

Nov. 7, 2005,
6:56 a.m.

25°55’49” N,
80°7'14" W
(Show in Google Maps)

Canon EOS 20D

Canon EF 28-135 f/3.5-5.6 (28mm) 


1/5000th second


A picture, it’s often said, is worth a thousand words. But there are times when even a picture tells only part of the story.

This is one of those times.

This photo shows the sun rising behind a pier on South Florida’s Atlantic coast, a beautiful sunrise to start another perfect day in paradise. I walked out the beach exit from my resort hotel before daylight and moved a couple of hundred yards south to get this shot before returning to prepare for a day of meetings on a November 2005 business trip.

The view on the ocean (or east) side of the hotel was dazzling. The view on the west side of the hotel was devastating.

Hurricane Wilma had rolled through South Florida two weeks earlier. Wilma wasn’t a hurricane of historic strength, but it was still a hurricane. And it did damage.

Many utility poles were still down. Some areas were without power. And the streets were filled with utility trucks from around the country as crews worked to replace the damaged infrastructure and restore normalcy to the area.

It created an odd juxtaposition, the beauty of nature adjacent to the damage from nature’s beastly side with a line of resort hotels forming the boundary between the two.

And it created some unusual situations as staff at the hotels tried to adopt a “business-as-usual” approach with their guests.

I was scheduled for dinner at a popular restaurant a couple of miles from the hotel so I stopped at the concierge’s desk to get driving directions (this was before everyone carried navigation systems on their phones). He had given the directions hundreds of times before so his response was automatic, until it wasn't. “When you pull out of the parking garage, turn right on Collins Avenue and go to the third traffic light … uh …. hmmmm … that light was knocked down by Wilma and I’m not sure it’s back up yet … and I don’t know if the first two lights are there, either, so finding where the third light was won’t be easy if the first two aren’t there. You aren’t from around here so I guess it won’t help if I tell you to turn left where the third traffic light used to be. Let me get you a map.” 

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.