Beautiful Sun Photography

The other day, someone asked me about my family surname, Beausoleil. It is a French-Canadian name and Beausoleil in English means “beautiful sun” (beau soleil). It seems rather fitting that I am a photographer who specializes in sunrise, night, and architecture photography which includes the sun with sunrises and sunsets! 

Admittedly, I first fell in love with photography when I made my first night photograph.

International Bridge between Sault Ste Marie, Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

It was (and still is) exciting to meet the challenge of making a photograph using what little available light there might be in the scene. It is rewarding to achieve the balance between the dark of night and the brightness of the available light. If done properly, a photograph made at night can be as stunning and detailed as one that is made during the day. 

Milwaukee skyline at night from the south end of the Lagoon on the Lakefront.

When I head out to shoot at sunrise, it is always about the light before the sun rises over the horizon. I am not there to point the camera directly into the sun as it comes up over the horizon. There are a few exceptions, of course.

It would turn out to be a beautiful blue-sky late winter day in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Winter sunrise on Lake Michigan

When I was living in the Midwest, I loved using the reflections of the sun and clouds on bodies of water (Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and inland lakes and coves). I would compose the shot by cropping the sun out of the frame so that my shot only included the sky (clouds) and the reflection itself. The bright sun itself can be distracting in a photograph and take away from the beauty of other objects in the scene.

Winter Sunrise on Lake Michigan
Sunrise in Melbourne, Florida

Living in the mountains, I have had to produce other methods of shooting the sunrise without pointing the camera directly at the sun. Instead of using reflections, I use more silhouettes in the shot. Unless the clouds are extremely dramatic. 

Sunrise on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Late winter sunrise on Lake Michigan
Sunset Point in Marquette, Michigan on Lake Superior.

Or I turn around and look for a subject illuminated by the rising sun. 

The Grand Haven Lighthouse is on Lake Michigan and is located on the western short of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
Wind Point Lighthouse at sunrise in the winter.

There are unlimited opportunities for several types of photographs at sunrise (or sunset), no matter where you are. We all share the sun, no matter where we are on the planet. Any one of us could take a picture of the sun and it would look like the others. What sets it apart is how we compose the photograph to include our surroundings and the effect of the light, whether it is the sun or the moon.

And that is my goal as a “beautiful sun” photographer. It is all about the light, whether it is at sunrise, sunset, or the dark of night.


Deb is a landscape photographer living in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The story behind the photographs are found here at Beautiful Sun Adventures. Her galleries can be found at Beautiful Sun Photography. Prints are available as wall art and home décor for your home, office, or business. Or as the perfect gift for someone special!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Steve Heap says:

    Very interesting collection of images to illustrate the thoughts that go along with your name! I’m not sure that my examples would be quite as pretty! Has your family got a French Canadian background somewhere in the past?
    The first winter sunrise picture is interesting – I’ve spend some time trying to capture those interesting spouts of water against the sunset but without a great deal of success. There is a place in Kauai where the returning wave from the cliff comes back and hits the oncoming wave and creates these little fountains, but nothing ever really results from my efforts. I will just have to go and try again!

    1. Thank you, Steve! Yes, we do have a French Canadian background, according to our genealogy. As for that beach scene – I was out on that shore for over an hour, trying to get the right shot! Worth the wait. Because of the build up of ice on the beach, I was fairly far out from the shore. It was quite cold!

  2. Each photo is better than the last. Beautiful work!

    1. Thank you so much! I’ve had a lot of success at sunrise photography over the years. It can be challenging sometimes when the weather and light don’t want to cooperate.

  3. I love those Lake Superior shots. Although I live in Minneapolis and have been up there many times, I really need to go again.

    1. Thanks, Jim! Yes, it’s fantastic world on Lake Superior. So many different moods and views, everywhere you turn.

  4. Some beautiful images here with the Sunset Point in Marquette, being my standout favourite.

    1. Thank you so very much! It’s been one of my favorites, too! The colors were outstanding that evening!

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