I took this photo during a glorious morning row, a day where I brought my camera (and the patience of my teammates) out at sunrise to capture the sights we tend to overlook on a daily basis. They promised to hold the boat steady and not to splash water on my equipment. They promised to help me find things – even ordinary things – that they thought to be lovely.

This is the view we rowers see on clear mornings, the mornings when the rising sun turns the sky into a watercolor painting of soft blues and pinks. The streetlights on Kelly Drive have yet to dim, but the hum of daily traffic is just audible over the chirping birds and gentle splash of the oars as they enter the water. Sometimes you’ll even catch the mouthwatering smells from the bakeries in East Falls and Manayunk as they drift downriver. This view is from the Twin Stone bridges in East Falls, where most boats spin to begin their journey back toward the boathouses.

Some people ask why rowers choose a sport that requires us to rise at unimaginably early hours, launch from the dock before dawn, and endure often unpleasant weather. This photograph is my answer.

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