Bladerunner Sunrise: Apocalyptic Oranges and Blues

Until the release of Bladerunner 2049, I was certain that the original Bladerunner would remain my favourite movie of all time! But…Mr. Ridley Scott sure outdid himself, and with that I became ever more obsessed with an ostensibly ‘bladerunner’ aesthetic, this time joined by the heavy burnt oranges depicted in 2049. Most are city-scapes taken over the tops of buildings, while others are more natural in their sunrise. Still, they all felt slightly apocalyptic as a set (isn’t the world burning?), so I thought I would share them here!

Edmonton Sunrise with Communication Tower (2020)

The best part about Bladerunner is that it taps into my dystopian mindset: always I’m imagining that everything I’m seeing has already been left behind by humans, or forgotten by them, for thousands of years. And now I’m just some distant, alien traveller trying to capture it all on camera. What you’re seeing above is an early-morning sunrise walk through one of my favourite parks in Edmonton. There, you’re surrounded on one side by park greenery, and on the other by industrial-use buildings that make great silhouettes in the morning.

Jericho Beach, Vancouver (2018)

Taken on an iPhone, this old photo comes from my personal image archives as one that I cannot seem to let go of! It’s a bit blurry, and I think I’ve done up some kind of focal blur to add mystique, but darn don’t I wish I could go back and capture this scene again with the right equipment, and without mucking it up with a bunch of edits. Still, I remember sitting on the shore, two of my favourite people by my side, all of us sitting in silent awe as we watched the sun go down.

Esperence Sunset, Australia (2020)

We’d had a long day exploring the amazing beaches surrounding the quaint and lovely coastal town of Esperence. Both of us Canadians, we benefit from empty beaches on a “too-cold” day of +22 (Celsius), and empty parks where we could have our own fun, or be silent, or whatever we liked. The day before we had driven this strip and found a small trail that we felt would be a perfect place to knock back a cold one and watch the sunset from the other side of the world. Here, we’re trying to beat the sun’s fall below the horizon, walking up to a bench that overlooks a gorgeous sea.

Indian Ocean (2020)

Yes, this was the shore that we came to watch. In all my life along the prairies, seeing such yellows and oranges against a fading blue sky, it was strange to see the stuff of memory transformed: changed, all turned around, the sky on fire and the fading blue of the ocean now transformed, reflecting the orange in the same way that the stalks of corn and wheat can at dusk. Sometimes I like to think my heart is still there, and really I was only snapping half-heartedly knowing that there was no camera in the world that would capture what I was feeling then, completely surrounded by silhouette and colour.

Australia Sunrise, Perth (2020)

My very first morning in Australia, barely having slept and knowing there would be a long drive ahead, I couldn’t stop myself from stepping out into the morning sun to explore even a little bit of the suburbia around me. By now in my life, I’d finally started bringing my camera along on my journeys across the world, and with the Canon strapped over my shoulder, the lens cap stuck in my pocket (so I can always be at the ready), I wove my way through street after street, wondering at the differences in architecture and material. And if I’m being honest, I was absolutely chasing that sun once I realized I hadn’t quite missed the sunrise. Careful not to get lost, and watching my street signs, I found a high point where I grabbed this shot! Of course, I could have left the wires out, but you know me. I like the constant reminder that our sky is ever-more obliterated by industry.

Downtown Edmonton, New Streetlamps (2020)

There’s a sort of trail (or ‘cat-walk’, as I used to call them growing up) that I’ve always loved–and which I walked down almost constantly when I first moved here–and which I always down now due to it’s cemetery proximity. Back then, where you see this shot, there was this huge Brick clearance centre promising the best deals on furniture. Now, it’s this quaint little shop-centre that’s challenged itself to be a little different than any of the architecture I see in downtown Edmonton. Appreciating this against the Bladerunner backdrop of that same sunrise morning, I snapped this quickly, even as many of the construction workers still looked on.

Communication Tower, Edmonton, AB (2020)

Again, the mixture of nature and industrial. The cross-section of black-metal and blocked-view brick, and then the tree just out beside, letting us know its still there. Orange always makes me think of the end of time, and though I’ve always felt these shades to be prone to sunsets only, I was pleased on this chill autumn morning to find such a lavish sunrise, almost all to myself! On this day I took a whole bunch of shots, just mad with wanting to capture the orange. Not all of them turned out mind you, and a lot of the time I was toying with the manual mode of my camera to help for the next time I actually shot a subject in this light, but I was having fun being surrounded by basically a world of fiction. Certainly the colours and scenes here have already found their way into some of my prose.

Edmonton Skyline, Alberta, CA (2020)

Another orange sunrise, taken on one of those rare mornings when the light reflects just so, where it bleeds its colour into the very walls of your home. And having seen this phenomenon a couple times now, living in Edmonton, as soon as I saw that orange tone creeping in, I left at the chance to get out of the house and see what I could capture!

Industrial Landscape, Edmonton, AB (2020)

Quiet. Still. Empty. And yet serene? Calm. Beautiful even. There’s something to the simplicity of the landscape lines of this shot, the blocked silhouette taking half the frame…when to be sure what I was trying to capture was the very metallic reflections of the ducts that sat atop the jut you see in the building’s silhouette, which reflected the colours of the sky in the same oranges and blues and greys that you see here. And while that effect is muted, I do think this (and the other photos) I gathered that day are quite emblematic of the world I go to when I’m writing, and the world I’m inspired by when watching either Bladerunner.

Published by Jessica Barratt

Writer, Photographer, Academic | Founder of JB Editing,, and

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