Deciding on sunrise locations is much easier than choosing sunset locations when in Charleston. Since the Atlantic is due east of Charleston you want to be somewhere where you can see the ocean. You don’t have to worry about distracting elements taking attention away from the main attraction – the rising sun.
So, when I visited Folly Beach at sunrise, what did I do? I put a distracting element in my image of the sunrise. And I like it.
I shot for a few minutes on the other side of the pier getting some colorful sky shots with interesting blurry ocean waves using long exposures. But, I quickly realized that those shots could have been taken anywhere there is a direct view from the beach of the rising, or for that matter, the setting sun.
I realized that the star of the show could be the pier itself. So, I found myself composing the pier into my shots in as many ways as possible. Given the length of the pier, any shot showing it in its entirety made the sun almost an afterthought in the image. Ultimately I compromised with a short section of the pier acting as a frame for the rising sun. The pier, its reflection in the wet sand, the ocean waves, the orange sky, and the sun itself make for a pleasing combination of elements. I really like the shot. I hope you do as well.