Dreams Between Dusk and Dawn

Bagan Myanmar Golden Hour - Blue Hour-1

 “There is a road…between the dawn and the dark of night and if you go,
no one may follow, as that path is for your steps alone.”  ~ Jerry Garcia

The wisdom of Jerry Garcia resonates with me as the wrathful fingers of winter turn into the chilly, wet hands of spring.  I search for my path.  A place to watch and dream from afar; to quietly witness the darkness of winter transform into the dawn of spring.

Standing against an ancient wall, spread across the plains of Bagan is my first Myanmar sunrise.  With the break of dawn, my slate is washed clean and ready to be filled up again with dreams that come my way.

Bagan Myanmar Golden Hour - Blue Hour-77

There is a saying, “Dreams die at dawn…” which I never cared for, as I believe dreams begin at dawn.  Then I saw a quote by Oscar Wilde, “A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world”

Perfect. Dawn, a dialectical point in time where dreams may wither and die yet at the same time be realized; the dreamer is there to witness both the inspiration and sadness.  For me, this is the definition of dawn.

Bagan Myanmar Golden Hour - Blue Hour-78

As a kid, I never gave much thought about the beauty of early morning.  I stayed in bed as long as possible…even though many of my dreams originated in books and folklore that romanticized this part of the day.

Mornings were written beautifully, where cowboys, explorers, Native American heroes and adventurers always touched upon the magic of dawn and daybreak.

Bagan Myanmar Golden Hour - Blue Hour-4

Daybreak would be accompanied by the glow of an early morning fire, whether to bring warmth to the beginning of the day or to brew a cup of coffee.

While reading, I would dream of sitting alongside the men and women as they drank their coffee…quietly pondering the day of uncertainty that lay ahead.  To this day, I believe this is one reason I savor my morning cup of coffee.

Bagan Myanmar Golden Hour - Blue Hour-79

Watching the early morning sky, I think of dreams drifting aimlessly like a balloon, its path relying on the wind.  The land below contradictorily familiar, yet exotic.

The pre-dawn moment where dreams either move forward to live another day, or silently drift into death…

Bagan Myanmar Golden Hour - Blue Hour-80

I once wrote:  She poetically said: Dawn is the time where the air is freshest and the electricity of our dreams we had during the night are out there for us to see…and it is at dawn when our dreams sparkle in hope that today will be the day when the dreamer claims them…instead of once again being tossed aside.”

Dawn allows us a moment to see and grasp at these dreams before they disappear.

Bagan Myanmar Golden Hour - Blue Hour-84

It is funny how vivid the mind can become in the quietness of dawn.  We can sense ourselves doing something extraordinary, just as we did when we were kids.  It seems when we were younger, dreams were more intense and crazy, and as an adult they become more serene, perhaps even mystical.

I suppose there is no comparison.  On one hand we have the younger mind of a rabid idealist versus an older mind of cynic: a cynic who realizes how much unclaimed potential we all leave out there.

Bagan Myanmar Golden Hour - Blue Hour-8

It is this strange contradictory nature of dawn and maturity that makes life interesting.  In our youth, we revel in the late night/early morning hours.  Intrigued by the peace of a post-midnight sky and the eerily quietness of the streets and the wilderness.

Breathtaking to feel so alive with energy in the dead of night, as if this moment was created for the young: the world waiting to be explored.  All the action and chaos of the previous day and night comes to a crescendo and slowly unwinds in the peaceful stillness of darkness.

Bagan Myanmar Golden Hour - Blue Hour-82

Come adulthood, for me this youthful fervor of post-midnight revelry has been replaced by an aching love for the early morning.

Being in a place like Myanmar, I feel the same wonderful spirit of daybreak that I have whether looking over wheat fields of Pendleton, pink rays breaking over Mt. Rainier in Seattle or the incredible Hong Kong harbor coming to life bathed in gold from the morning sun.

Dawn creates this state of bliss, a start of every beautiful day.

Bagan Myanmar Golden Hour - Blue Hour-10

James Douglas wrote: “it is a good idea to be alone at dawn, so that all its shy presence may haunt you, possess you in a reverie of suspended thought.”

There is much truth to this saying, which is why I enjoy this time of peace and solitude alone.  However, it can be special sharing such moments with others; to occasionally open up this time to share dreams and thoughts…

Bagan Myanmar Golden Hour - Blue Hour-88

The two weeks I spent traveling in Myanmar had endless moments of amazement, and I was so happy to be able to share it all with my sister, Sandi.  While we enjoyed our photography, the endless talks and creating adventures is what made the trip so eventful.

What good is the happiness of early morning dawn, the moment to wander among dreams, if you can never share it with others?

Bagan Myanmar Golden Hour - Blue Hour-83

“For with each dawn, she found new hope that someday,
her dreams of happiness would come true.”  ~ Cinderella

Bagan Myanmar Golden Hour - Blue Hour-81Best wishes to Ajaytao 2010, for bringing inspiration to many…

216 Comments on “Dreams Between Dusk and Dawn

  1. Hi! I especially love the 1st and 7th photo, even though they are all beautiful. This is the result of getting up at dawn and capturing those moments. I think that the crazy (I don’t know if crazy is the right word), creative and wishful dreams I have at night that keep me awake for hours, they suddenly fade when I get up in morning. Then new wishful dreams (or the same ones) begin while I have my coffee. Morning coffee is a must 🙂 Its so nice that you could share such a trip with your sister.

    • Hi Sofia, I have the same feelings too…I have a great dream and then when I wake up it fades so quickly (and I can’t remember anything other than this great lingering feeling), and then comes the coffee 🙂

      It was a great trip with my Sis, and really a beautiful place. Thank you for your comment, #1 I enjoyed the most…as the look of the place changed so much from pre-to-post dawn. Cheers!

      • Coffee with milk? I like what they call in Spain “cafe Americano”, all the opposite of a strong shot of expresso. The Spaniards think its disgusting, dirty water they call it haha.
        Well I hope one day I can photograph just as good, and share such a trip with my brother. He is becoming a bit of an outback photographer, I keep on telling him he should make a blog 😉

      • I really like my coffee black, and that is a direct result of reading about explorers & also watching my Dad growing up. There is nothing like packing up and taking the camera…it creates a nice adventurous spirit that creates an even more eventful trip. Definitely get your bro to shoot & blog…then we can all meet up somewhere in Asia and shoot together 🙂

    • Isn’t it the best. Sometimes I get frustrated at night when I stay up so late because I will not be able to take in the early morning…but that always just makes the next one that much better 🙂 Thanks Beka.

  2. How wonderful to have had my morning coffee while looking at your photos! Exquisite, all of them.

  3. Dear Randall,

    I can’t comment on these images, it’s like a dream for me.

    Let me just tell you one thing, this is one of the best post I have seen in this forum till now.

    and reminds me, how far I have to travel to be identified as a good photographer.

    You are an inspiration to me.

    Thank you so much.

    • I am not sure I have ever received such a fine compliment in regards to my photography…thank you Sreejith. This is why I love the forum who shoot & share with, there is so much quality and inspiration for us all to share, and your work in India is incredible. I very much hope that one day we can plan to meet up and shoot together…I have much to learn from you! Cheers.

  4. Breathtaking. The pics with the balloons reminds me of when I lived in Arizona. They are always doing ballooning around the mountains there. 🙂

    • Thanks Kev, I have some friends who go down every year to the balloon shows down there…I’ve been up in a couple, they are pretty amazing.

  5. Randall, this post is simply magical from start to finish. The first photo is breathtaking. To have caught the river of fog, the lighted temple and the blue light in one scene – I’m insane with jealousy!! I’ve done my share of dawn shoots and although I admit it’s not my favorite time of day, it is definitely the most rewarding for a photographer and a dreamer 🙂 Thank you for sharing these, they are truly wonderful – every single one of them. And your text compliments them beautifully.

    • Thank you so much Tina, you would have been in your element here…the words, landscapes and people all added up to magic. Catching the perfect dawn will always be my goal, and we got close a couple times during the travel…the blues came out about 30 mins before sunrise, and as always left too soon. Of course a few days of nothing but clouds, but still wonderful. For as small of a country Myanmar is, there is such a great amount of diversity…people, regions and beauty. Thank you again for the great words of support!

  6. Beautiful and love the quote from ripple, heard it on a dead tape while camping this weekend.

    • Excellent you picked up on the Ripple quote…didn’t think anyone would, and listening to it while camping ~ a perfect weekend. Cheers.

  7. Your photos are breathless and your post left me speechless… It’s strange, I have been dreaming of visiting Myanmar and just new it had to be Myanmar even before seeing your perrrrrfect images. And that golden light, reminds me of paradise!
    Going to bed to dream some more, beautiful and mystical dreams. Thank you! xox
    P.s I have had some amazing experiences at dawn in Joshua Tree high desert (still one of my favorite places on Earth) and have some stunning images – but nothing like yours 🙂

    • Ha, great dreams and Myanmar is a piece of paradise…worth a trip both in dreams and in person. So much there for you to experience, and dawn really calls every morning there. Thank you and wish you more mystical dreams!

  8. The world waiting to be explored…and once you do that, you always find Beauty!
    Beauty inspires. Beauty saves us. Beauty motivates. Beauty unites. Beauty heals us.
    “The pre-dawn moment where dreams either move forward to live another day, or silently drift into death…” : The whole post is a sort of epic romance, a beautiful romance completed by your photography.
    You make us believe in Magic.

    • Beautifully said…and the more you explore, the more beauty to find. Really felt wonderful reading your last sentence “You make us believe in Magic…” now that is something to dream and aspire to do… You are part of the inspiration of this whole process. Thank you Luana!

  9. Dawn: best part of the day. Watching sunrise lay-out the beginning of yet another layer of time…to hold and behold.
    You capture the essence of many images, Randall. These “ones”, however….along with the passion of your words…quietly recall my dreams of yesterday neatly layered between the colours of a hopeful tomorrow.

    • Perfect Raye, that is just the way I love to look at what the days brings…yesterday is what it is, but it is the colors and hope of tomorrow that keep me excited. Thank you, nothing like catching the dawn in her glory to start a day.

  10. Randall, these are some of my favorites of your images. The first two, and especially the second one, by far… I say that, and yet… I have loved all of your images. But there is something about that second one… It is perfect. (In other words, I agree with Sreejith.)

    I resonate with your thoughts about dawn. Love the quote by Oscar Wilde (one of my favorite authors, by the way). I am yet a night owl, but I have always loved the early morning — the time before the world awakes . . . when everything is still, peaceful . . . A place for dreams awakening and dying. A moment of thought and action. The world between the two. I resonate very much with your thoughts about loving to be alone at dawn and in your travels, and yet the joy of having someone to share these moments with, too. I have been alone most of my life, and was alone most of the time I was in Asia. To me, it was a beautiful time, but to have someone close to you to share these moments with is beautiful — and important — too . . . There is an understanding that shared travel imparts . . .

    Thank you for this. Myanmar looks beautiful.

    • Jessica, thank you so much for these words…the 2nd shot is yours!

      Very cool that you relate so well with Oscar Wilde…love that quote of his. It was right after my 30th that I flipped from being a night owl to waking early, and dawn was the prize. I like how you say “a moment of thought and action” as that is ideally how I’d like to start every day. Wonderful words. There is that great balancing act of being alone and sharing time, and I wish you the very best. Thanks!

      • I actually just got offered a job in Taiwan, and it’s killing me that I can’t take it. But things have a way of working themselves out. Best of everything to you, too, Randall.

      • Now if that isn’t life doing its best to make things interesting for you! Taiwan is such a great place as you know…puts you back in your element. It is great, though, that you have such great options and you are so correct in knowing the path you choose to travel will be the best. You’ll make it back some day 🙂

      • I know! Interesting is right. A lot of things tugging at my heart right now. And you bet I’ll make it back. 😀

        You planning to get permanent residency? Or do you already have it?

      • Already have it… It was hilarious, HK Imm. just handed me my permanent ID card, and I said “Is that it?!?” then a few of them stood up and clapped…so funny. Best immigration department I could ever imagine. You’ll be back 🙂

      • I thought you must! My poor friend Karen has been there for like ten years but had to leave for a year or two in between, so she had to start all over. Now she’s ready to retire there but still hasn’t gained her permanent residency. It’s a cold, cold world is right.

  11. Absolutely love this post, probably one of my favourites. Words-wise, you wrote it so poetically. The photos were nothing short of stunning. When I looked at the very first photo, I was reminded of scenes from Aladdin, and it looks so magical. You’ve definitely brought out the beauty of Myanmar here, and most definitely the beauty of early mornings and sunrise. I’m still at that point in my life where I am not a fan of early mornings and roll out of bed at 10-11am on the weekends and moan when I have to get up at 7am to go to work. But your photos inspire me to see dawn someday soon.

    Daybreak is the start of a new day, and the end of another night. (Watching a sunrise) I suppose we all realise that there is no stopping the sun from rising – it’s a magical moment in nature – and we all have to soldier on into the day whatever if may bring. We have no choice but to put our best foot forward and hope, and of course dream 🙂

    • Thank you Mabel, it was a pretty fun post to put together, mainly because I do like the early morning so much (and it can still be difficult to wake up so early…but it is worth it). Loved your description of the first photo, it felt like a scene from Alladin as well, very poetic morning. And I wrote this post early morning as well, so had the charm of dawn with me. Cheers!

  12. Stunning images.

    One day I’ll get up early and catch the dawn. Even here where I live in the inner city, it has to be photogenic.

    • You are so correct, the lighting at dawn makes everything more interesting and photogenic…photography actually has taught me that the angles/shadows/lighting is where most of the magic is (outside of the obvious beauty of the sun rising). Thanks, and look forward to seeing your photos!!

  13. These pictures are stunningly beautiful Randall as are your words. A post that really was a very genuine pleasure to read and to view. Dawn is my time of day to take photographs as you know and these shots just exemplify why I forgo that extra hour (or possibly 3) in bed to seize the day just as it starts. Fabulous photography!

    • Dawn is not easy…sometimes the bed won’t let me go 🙂 This post certainly had you in mind, as your great work epitomizes what dawn can bring (and is an inspiration for getting out to shoot so early). Thanks Adrian.

  14. Such exquisite beauty in your words and visual meditation of the dawn. There is nothing that equals that part of the day. Breathtaking!

  15. The depth and reflection in your words tug. I’ve always revered dawn as a space of rebirth, transition, and a realm of possibility. Its simply synonymous with silence, solace, and serenity. The quotes you chose to align with your vivid share are wonderfully apt. I’ll now be with and appreciate dawn through a new lens. How special to have experienced this with your sister. Thanks, Randall.

    • We said Eric, it seems to be the one part of the day that brings and holds a lot of hope. Thank you and wish you a good week.

  16. Beautifully done Randall, as always. The photography is exceptional and perfectly tied together with your prose. And you have managed to lay the guilt on someone who is not a morning person.

    • Ha, ha…yeah, let’s just say I still miss my fair share of dawns. In your case, maybe just extend your nights by a few more hours and get the best of both worlds! Thanks Ron.

  17. These photos have the power to make someone dream, Randall, and that on its own is a big feat. They transport you to that land, make you believe that you’re breathing in that mysterious, exotic air.
    What a wonderful post! I had to remind myself to keep breathing.

    • Thank you Meghna, it was one of those moments that are fun to experience again when I look at the photos. Your words are special, as that is what I always feel when I look at a photo I enjoy…it’s like I am there. Cheers!

  18. Your photos are out of this world Randall, there is always something magic about them. Thanks to you I travel to places that I’ve always dreamed of. I hope one day can see those places myself. Thank you so much for inspiring me!

    • Hi Yael, thank you and with all the traveling you have done, I think these places will be right around the corner for you…and you will be in photographer’s paradise. Perhaps the best, though, is you will lose yourself in the culture and people as SE Asia is pretty amazing. Cheers!

  19. Pingback: Sunset | shamanictracking


    absolutely beautiful dear Randall no words to describe my feelings great

    Thank you dear 🙂

      • Thank you dear Randall 🙂

        my only request please post dear I love your photography

  21. A fabulous collection of photos of a place I really have to see one day ….
    Making the effort to get up before the sun is always so incredibly rewarding and there’s nothing quite like the start of a new day to make you feel good.

    • Thank you Noeline, Myanmar exceeded my already high expectations. Loved it, and hitting dawn every day was easy as it called me out of bed…not quite as easy when I am home, but you are right a great way to start a day.

  22. Reblogged this on closetoeighty and commented:
    I loke this post very much and want to share it with my followers and guests. Thank you, Randal Collis, for another opportunity to show your work.

  23. Wow! I am absolutely mesmerized. These pictures are stunning and beautiful; you have words flowing like a stream of pureness and I am so enriched. Great work!

    • Great description and thank you for your appreciation; wonderful to have you enjoy the words as well as the photos, Thandiubani.

  24. Very nicely written…profound yet easy…and scenes are breathtaking, glorious photos.
    All the best,

  25. Those are all magic images. You have really capture the enigmatic and wondrous atmosphere of Bagan – at least how I have always seen the place for my inner eye. I have yet to see it for really, but it’s on my list and hopefully it won’t take too long till I get to visit Bagan.

    • Thank you Otto, you will not be disappointed when you do arrive…Myanmar has such a diverse set beauty, easy to get lost in it all.

  26. What do I like about your photos?….Hmmm…..the colors, the mist, the architecture, the hot air balloons. I think most of all the mind of the photographer, the vision of what the photo should be before the careful click of the camera. Your photos are amazing!!

    • Thank you…Myanmar was pretty much a paradise of great people and incredible culture, it made ‘seeing the photo’ much easier than most places 🙂 Cheers!

  27. Oh dear Randall you are an inspiration to me dear

    I am absolutely a normal human being and an student
    thank you dear Randall for being there:) 🙂

  28. Simply beautiful images, Randall — and inspiring words of dawn! My favorite is the 10th one of the temple tops through the mist — gorgeous!

    • Thank you Neely, like you, there is nothing better than watching it unfold right in front of you. Not a better way to start a day.

  29. Good word! Those pictures are too good! Really magical, plus the balloons … Whoa! Really remarkable. And your thoughts about dawn and dreams… Really makes it all an incredible incredible post. Great job!

    • Thanks, that can be one of the best things about photography ~ it provides great incentive to go somewhere beautiful and experience it first hand.

  30. Randall, this set is magnificent. In addition to the wonderful narrative, I love the silhouettes – of dancing hot air balloons, of stupas, of mountains… We’d hoped to get to Myanmar back in 2012, alas we didn’t have enough time to get the visa situated before leaving the region. Thank you for transporting me there for the meantime.

    • Thank you Tricia, one of the most positive places I have been…great culture & people. I hope to return later this year (would like to see it in the rainy season). Wish you safe travels!

  31. Wonderful photos, like a perfect moment in time, a moment to meditate and remember. That picture with the two balloons was just terrific! I would love to paint it. Cool that you travel with your sister. Thanks for stopping by friendly fairy tales. I’m happy to follow you. Blessings, Brenda

    • Thank you Brenda, a painting of the two balloons would really be amazing…as I always think the artist invokes something special in paintings that simply cannot be created within a photograph, would love to see such work. Cheers!

      • I love to work from photos with such stunning contrast. 🙂 I hope your weekend is great! Cheers, Brenda

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: