Bugsy Sailor – Sunrise Photographer

On January 1, 2019, I began an ambitious resolution, to watch and photograph every sunrise of the year.

I sought the sun, but what I found was so much more.

Beginning in 2013, I started a New Year’s Day tradition of watching the first sunrise of the year, each along the Great Lakes which included a small road trip.

As another year approached, I realized I hadn’t watched many sunrises from one year to the next. During my 2019 New Year’s road trip to Whitefish Point, I made a simple resolution, to watch and photograph every sunrise of 2019.

As Year of the Sunrise began, I quickly noted that most sunrises we experience in life are by happenstance, something we see from the kitchen window or during our morning commute. I sough to be deliberate in seeking nature, setting out each morning to make sunrise the destination.

As 2019 came to a close, I had fallen in love with the new lifestyle I built. My takeaway for those who enjoyed the project was to encourage people to watch more sunrises this year than they had the previous. Though I felt couldn’t preach this without leading by example. Realizing 2020 was a leap year, I followed through with my committment, watching another 366 sunrises. To date I haven’t stopped, and have watched over 900 consecutive sunrises, through freezing rain, downpours, -30º windchills, and a global pandemic.

Take your time to look around, find your birthday, your anniversary, or simply your favorite sunrise.

Remember, no matter how cloudy the day, or the adversity you face, the sun still rises.

Stay well, stay awesome, and watch more sunrises,
Bugsy Sailor

Lean more about my world at bugsy.me or follow along at @BugsySailor on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

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 from Au Gres, Michigan

Sunrise on Lake Huron

January 1, 2014 from Lakeport, Michigan

Sunrise on Lake Huron

January 1, 2015 from Tahquamenon Falls

Sunrise at Upper Tahquamenon Falls

January 1, 2016 from Big Bay Lighthouse

Sunrise at Big Bay Lighthouse

January 1, 2017 from Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse

January 1, 2018 from Seul Choix Light

Sunrise at Seul Choix Light

January 1, 2019 from Whitefish Point

Sunrise at Whitefish Point