After years of anticipation and several try and error attempts I manage to shoot what I consider to be a nearly perfect sunrise against the temple of Poseidon at Sounio, Greece. The result is a combination of careful planning, experience and a great deal of luck. Some of the challenges and technical issues involved:
- The distance from the temple is approximately 2 kilometers. The greater the distance the harder to align the Sun and the foreground. Usually, in order to achieve a perfect alignment, the photographer must move a few meters (or more!). This means that the telescope must be relocated and aligned in a matter of seconds before the Sun disappears from the narrow field of view.
- The Sun should be near the horizon, as low as possible. Therefore the shooting must take place at high altitude. This is possible for only a few days every year where the Sun’s azimuth during sunrise, the temple of Poseidon and a mountain at a 2 km distance are all aligned.
- The 2 km distance serves another purpose as well. It is the distance where the apparent size of the Sun almost matches the apparent size of the temple. It is far enough for the temple to fit into the Sun’s disk but it is also close enough for the photographer to capture many details on the temple. The combination of these two, results to a really pleasant visual effect.
- Even when the shooting takes place from a high ground, the Sun is almost 2 degrees above the horizon when aligned with the temple. In most cases, at this altitude, the Sun is already very bright; therefore the nice reddish and yellow colors are lost. Due to the Sun’s excess brightness, a very fast photographic exposure is required and because of this, the foreground (temple), loses all the details and looks like a dark silhouette. In some cases a thin layer of clouds blocks just enough of the Sun’s brightness. When this happens, the Sun retains the colors for a few more seconds, long enough for the photographer to capture details on the Sun and the temple with only one exposure.
- The focal length is as much as 1200mm. This focal length combined with my crop 1,6 dslr camera results to a very narrow field of view where the subject (Sun and temple) just fits into. The advantage is the great amount of detail that the image has. As a disadvantage, when the focal length and the magnification increases the more difficult is to accurately focus, frame and shoot the photo. Not only the subject is magnified, but also the vibrations on the telescope from the wind or even from the DSLR’s mirror flipping.
- Finally, the weather conditions are the key to the success. If it is very windy – which is something common at the area- or if it is cloudy the odds are against us. Apparently, everything went fine and this is my best Sounio temple sunrise so far!
Canon EOS 550D , SW ED 80 telescope + barlow 2x , 27/11/2012 8:28 , Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/25 , Av( Aperture Value ) 15.0 , ISO Speed 200
Ανατολή Ηλίου στο Σούνιο. Μετά από χρόνια προσπαθειών, αυτή είναι ίσως η καλύτερη λήψη από το συγκεκριμένο σημείο. Η αραιή νέφωση λειτούργησε ως ιδανικό φίλτρο στην εκθαμβωτική λάμψη του Ήλιου με αποτέλεσμα την άριστη ισορροπία ανάμεσα στην φωτεινότητα του πρώτου πλάνου και του Ήλιου.