Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.


For about 10 years now I haven’t set an alarm unless I had a plane or bus to catch. My belief is that if my body needs to sleep it will and if it doesn’t it won’t. For the most part this has worked out just fine for me. I’m not someone who needs to worry about oversleeping.

Photo: The sun burns the fog off Keuka Lake in February 2016 while I read the web under a blanket.

For the past 7 or 8 years I’ve woken up, without assistance, between 6 and 7 AM. One of the advantages of having a searchable blog archive is that I can track weird things like this. I’ve mentioned waking up in the morning several times in several posts. As an example, in 2009 I did an episode of Random 60 (a video series I did then) where I mentioned that I typically wake up around 6:45. That was 7 years ago. Today, I woke up just after 6. Yesterday, around 5:30. But most days over the last few months have also been between 6 and 7. So I’m still waking up generally around the same time as I did when I was 25.

I like it.

My favorite time of day is morning. The sunrise, birds, fog, calm, cool. When my eyes open in the morning I generally end up rolling out of bed within a few seconds. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve gone back to sleep after waking up. I’m almost always fully awake and alert immediately. Once and awhile (especially in hotel rooms for some reason) I’ll wake up groggy and need a few minutes to acclimate myself.

What do I use my mornings for? Reading (mostly blogs, Twitter). Coffee. Writing here on my blog (I started this post around 6:45a this morning). Editing photos that I might want to share. Coffee. Reading. Writing.

Even on vacation I’m not one to sleep in late into the morning. I realize for some this is exactly what vacation should be for, and I have no issue with those I vacation with sleeping the day away. But when I’m on vacation I love reading on my iPad and having a few cups of coffee while the sun rises over the lake or ocean.

Dawn and Shadow Time

One thing I’m forever fascinated by is how the local landscape affects sunlight, weather patterns, wind speed, etc. Meteorology with a view from the ground, if you will. Isn’t it fascinating that where I live, in a very small stream valley, above a larger river valley, between two small mountains, has a wholly different temperature, wind speed, and sunrise and sunset time as my friends who only live a few minutes away — perhaps in the river valley below or in the plains above?

It turns out I’m not alone in finding this fascinating. Maria Langer, longtime blogger, helicopter pilot, and all-around fascinating person, recently wrote about Dawn Time – or, first light due to one’s landscape. Notice these bits:

It’s nice to see the horizon, to greet the sun when it makes its first appearance for the day, to see the way first light touches the landscape around me, to watch weather move through, to see last light and watch the sun dip below the horizon at the end of the day.

The sun, in a way, is my clock. Not having a scheduled life, I let it tell me when to get up in the morning and, during long summer days, often go to sleep not long after it sets.

I rarely express it (and I’ve never blogged about it like Maria) but I can say that I’ve thought about these types of things countless times.

My grandparents, on my father’s side of the family, owned a home on 50-acres that slowly sloped away from their house by at least a few hundred feet. Sitting in their living room you could see their entire plot. To see deer in the two fields furthest away required the aid of binoculars. Beyond those two fields their view stretched on for miles. I loved looking out at that.

In the mid-90s I spent some time in South Dakota. I remember being on a slight rise and seeing the rains miles and miles away, lightning striking the earth, and it being dry where I stood.

I think this is why I like spending so much time on large lakes. I love the broad view I have and how the sun touches the west coast of the lake, slowly makes its away across and hits the east coast and then shadow wraps the west coast as the day ends. As Maria wrote, I could see getting into a rhythm with the sun. Maybe this is why I’m a morning person?

Maria also blogged about Shadow Time. So be sure to check that out. Fascinating stuff.