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Compass Pointe Sunrise 2 1600x960 1
Compass Pointe Sunrise 2 1600x960 1


An Unusually Great Month for Sunrises

Fairways to Heaven: A monthly photo series and random thoughts from Photographer Dave Sansom

Sunrise Sandwich at Compass Pointe © Dave Sansom Photography

Anyone who knows me knows that I live for sunrise.  That feeling of a new beginning is magic.  And it happens every day!  Go figure. All sunrises are not created equal, and like snowflakes, no two are alike.  That’s why, if I’m on a photo shoot, you’ll always find me in position before the sun appears, hoping for one of those special moments that only happen occasionally.  The last month has provided me with some very special sunrises, so before I fly off to Hong Kong I thought I’d share a few with you.

Compass Pointe, Leland, North Carolina © Dave Sansom Photography

Compass Pointe is a lowland North Carolina community near Wilmington.  Its centerpiece is a new, Rick Robbins-designed, 18 hole beauty.  Rick has spent most of his career in Asia, first running Jack Nicklaus’ Asian operation and then on his own.  He was arguably the second most productive golf course architect in China, behind Schmidt-Curley Design, but like everyone else, when golf development in China ground to a halt, he came home.

I had the pleasure of shooting Compass Pointe is in early May.  And to make it even more of a pleasure, I stayed with Rick in the new home he shares with his wife, Ginger, above the 10th green.  So not only did I have a wonderful golf course to photograph, I had the opportunity to get to know Rick better.  Great fun!

On this particular morning, I did not get out on the course with great optimism.  It was gray and overcast, but my first rule of photography is “Always show up” and I’m very glad I did.  The above image is one of my favorite sunrise images, largely because it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen.  But then, following my second rule of photography: “Turn around,” I shot the second image (first image) from essentially the same location.  It was a sunrise sandwich to remember!

When Caroline McGill called to ask me to shoot a few holes to fill in their library of course images at East Lake Golf Club, I was all in.  East Lake Golf Club, home of Bobby Jones and host of the PGA Tour Championship each year, is one of my favorite golf properties.

The course is always in amazing condition, thanks to Ralph Kepple and his agronomy team and for some reason every time I shoot at East Lake I get the best conditions I’ve ever had.  Not sure why that is, but East Lake always has something great waiting for me.  This week, the gift was one of the most spectacular sunrises ever.  The colors were amazing, and the cloud formations were stunning.

A sunrise to remember at East Lake Golf Club © Dave Sansom Photography

I have a very large series of images from this amazing photo shoot that I intend to build into an “anatomy of a sunrise”.  The series will feature an almost minute-by-minute development of this great sunrise, beginning during the blue hour, long before the sun appears, and following the changes until the sun clears the horizon. I intend to publish the series at a later date, but for now, here’s a sampling. I hope you enjoy them.

About Dave Sansom

Based in Atlanta, GA, Dave Sansom is an award-winning freelance golf course photographer, who works throughout the USA and in Asia. Dave is a preferred photographer for both Troon Golf and Marriott Golf.  Shooting public, private and resort courses, Sansom has experienced his fair share of world-class courses, including many PGA and USGA tournament venues. Dave was recently featured  in Worldwide Golf Shops’ blog post, “Top Golf Photographers”, featuring 35 golf photographers considered to be among the best in the world.

For more information on Dave Sansom or to acquire his stunning photographs and prints: Visit his website and follow on Facebook and Twitter.


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