When I was on vacation at the beach last month, I had grand plans to get up in the morning and photograph the sunrise. The first couple of days, I overslept. Other days, when I woke up, it was too misty. Before I knew it, a week had flown by, and we were going to be leaving in the morning.

As there were 42 people all staying in this one house (it was quite large), and about 20 of them were under the age of 18,  lots of clothes and toys and shoes had all gotten jumbled about. We started to pack, and one thing led to the next, and all of the sudden it was about midnight.

My alarm was set for 5:30 AM, for the sun rises very early on the east coast. I knew I had a long drive ahead of me home, and when the alarmed screeched chimed at me in the morning, I turned it off, closed my eyes. For a moment, I was torn. I really needed sleep, but the forecast promised a sunny day, and I didn’t know when I’d ever be back on an east coast beach. So up I got, trudging my way wearily to the beach. I knew that if I didn’t do it, I’d regret it.

And what a sunrise it was. Stunning. I don’t normally see natural landscape for sunrise and sunsets–we live in a city with houses and wires and roads to mar the view.

This is one of my favorite photographs of the morning. It turns out that the figure walking down the beach in this image is my sister. Neither of us had any idea the other would be out so early. And what a lovely image she has to remind her of her vacation. For me, it reminds me that I shouldn’t let anything stop me.

There have been plenty of times in the past when I didn’t know how to do something, or thought it wouldn’t come out the way I wanted and just took no action. No skills were improved, no images taken. Where did that get me? Where will it get you? Nowhere.

For what holds us back when we don’t take action? Is it the weather? Laziness? Fear? We can never succeed if we don’t try. And if we fail, surely there’s a lesson to be learned, to make us better, stronger.