Red Rock Canyon is bordered on it's western flank by a 7,000 foot escarpment that runs about 15 miles north to south rising abruptly from the canyon's broad rolling drainage. Visually it's quite stunning. I always thought it would be a cool picture if I could snap & shoot the sun as it rose over the opposite horizon and just kissed the crest of the escarpment. This led me into an investigation of when was dawn. Come to find out there was three dawns and then it started getting complicated, cause I immediately learned that dawn isn't sunrise. Then sunrise became real confusing cause the Talmud identifies the time of first prayer is 72 minutes before dawn; this caused me to phone my favorite Hebrew scholar down in Los Angeles. His response to this simple question required me to stay on the phone for about 47 minutes as he explained the 2,000 year debate of when first prayer should occur, the 600 plus books that have been written in the Jewish faith regarding this question, etc. had me itching the few hairs left on my head. Taken during at Nautical Dawn, while being vectored in by a pack of coyotes raising Cain. Astronomical dawn occurs two hours before sunrise, while the sun is 18 degrees below the eastern horizon. Today that would have been 4:26 a.m. and yeah, I was out there; it was 29 degrees F. Nautical dawn occurs one hour before sunrise while the sun is 12 degrees below the eastern horizon, today that was at 5:26 a.m. That's when I was carrying a tripod, a folding chair and a backpack full of camera and other useless junk and stepped into a ditch and fell directly onto my outside the waistband 1911, jacking my left knee and soiling my trousers. Civilian dawn occurs when the sun is 6 degrees below the eastern horizon. Say a half hour before sunrise. Today sunrise was at 6:26 a.m. so if I had run back 72 minutes I could have started praying. The mighty Rainbow Mtn 6924 ft standing tall 45 min before sunrise. I researched all this nonsense last week and was already to do my amateur hour snapshot of the sun touching the crest last week and then realized that maybe I should check the weather, if there are clouds in the sky that might fudge up sunrise. Hence today's expedition. However I learned today that what phase of the moon we're in really ducks up the image your after. No, I didn't want a moon in these pictures, I said before I'm a rookie. I never found that narrow horizon band of light I was looking for to fall onto the escarpment, maybe that occurs at a particular time of the year, or is an effect when clouds are in the sky. But forget that, it was awesome being out here this morning, the coy dogs filling the pre-sunrise emptiness with their chatterings and goings on, the silence above and beyond them. That freshness and quality of light was a big payout. The uninvited moon setting right on top of Cloud Tower View to the north; La Madre Mountain La Madre Mountain again later, with a view of the uplands of the canyon floor. Looking south along the escarpment.