Two Boeing’s, One Moon & A Sunrise

There are only a few days a year that an image like the one shown above can be obtained with the actual sun behind the tower. The odds are stacked against me as the first week of October is usually poor as in terms of weather. It takes the sun about 4 or 5 days to move from one side to the other at sunrise. The only other opportunity is in early February and once again, at this time of year the weather will either be dull, dark, cloudy and wet or even snowing; or clear sky and no clouds.

Yesterday was very cloudy, but as we all know, the best sunsets and sunrises come with clouds. I chose to stay at home despite glancing out of the window and missed an ideal opportunity. Fridays sunrise was sent packing. This morning I was prepared. I had checked the weather and was ready for a clear frosty morning and the possibility that I would even have to de-ice the car. If you have looked at some of my sunrise images you will know that I like to combine my love of low-light photography with my other passion of aviation. A sunrise shot with a departing aircraft in my opinion, is an awesome spectacle.

It was dark when I left the house at 06:15 and after de-icing the car headed the 1.38 kilometres to my location of choice. From my position near the Cemetery at the end of the runway you have an uninterupted view to the South, South East and East. The weather forecasters had got it spot on this morning; the sky was cloudless apart from half a dozen partially formed vapour trails pointing east; these became apparent at the paling of the sky and glowed orange. The trails were all the early morning inbound flights to mainland Europe from America and Canada and were illuminated at their high altitude by the inconspicuous rising sun.

Aircraft were departing from the airport and creating nice plumes of spray from the wheels on the damp runway. This is always a great opportunity for a couple of shots but with such low light the quality is never going to be high. Based on this information I chose to make the images just like that…Grainy and gravelly. I adjusted the camera controls and made sure the Image stabilizers were switched on and fired off a few frames. My expectations were not high but if you set your standards based on knowledge and experience then you wont be disappointed with your results. There was a Crow sat in the tree next to the cemetery as all I could hear was Caaaw Caaw Caaaw..I looked round and saw it silhouetted against the moon..Great shot went through my mind.. in near darkness, now that’s a challenge. Never to turn down a challenge I lifted the camera and before I could say cheese it was off. I was left with a shot of the trees and the moon. Now, before I decided to drop this image in to the recycle bin looking at it again made me think twice, it had a peculiar feel to it, almost haunting. On that basis I decided edit to the best of my ability and keep it.


The sun slowly began to emerge from behind a mass of distant cloud. An orange glow started to form as the sun rose above the distant bank. It was apparent that the images were going to be nothing special this morning as they were very few flights today and the sky was bland. Time to move on to plan B and think of alternatives.

Plan B in my world, is making something out of very little. The sun had started to rise a lot further to the left of the control tower than I had hoped but this wasnt really unexpected. It was a very dull orange as a result of the atmosphere. We all know that sun light is composed of seven colors — Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red. In the mornings and evenings, when the sun is near the horizon, the rays have to travel about fifty time’s longer path in the atmosphere to reach us than it does in the noon. The dust, smoke and water vapour present in the atmosphere scatter away these colors differently. Violet, indigo and blue are scattered most and red and orange are scattered least. That is why most of these two colors reach our eyes. As a result, the rising and setting sun appears red. I now had the problem of finding suitable foreground for a decent image. When you are stood on high ground this really does present a problem. In the past I have used trees, fences, gravestones (a last resort) and even sheep for silhouettes but today was going to be a none starter. The only item of interest I could use was a bank of trees to the North-East of the terminal building. I even decided to keep the rising sun slap bang centre too… It really was a bland and uninteresting sunrise. I tried to squeeze something out of another shot just down the road with a view over the terminal and control tower but it was fruitless. I will post a link to my images very shortly. Thanks for reading…..Comments welcome as always.


About Mark Winterbourne

A little about me … well, what can I say. I started photography back in 1979 when I was just 11 years old. I was given a 35mm SLR Camera by my late Grandfather as a birthday present. The camera was a Russian built Zenit EM and built like a house brick. Many of my slides on here are taken with the very same camera. My passion stemmed from my Grandfathers love of photography and in particular his fondness of the English Lake District. I will showcase his work on here in the coming months, but there are over 10,000 slides and I have quite a task ahead of me scanning them in. In the late eighties and early nineties I moved on to autofocus SLR’s and began to accumulate quite a stash of equipment. In between my full time employment and sleeping I started doing small photographic assignments for freinds, family and small businesses. In the early 2000′s I started using a digital camera and traed all my traditional film cameras in for more equipment. My Camera Equipment Canon EOS 20D Body BGE2N Battery Grip Canon EOS 50D Body BGE2N Battery Grip Canon 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 EF-S Lens Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III Lens Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM Sigma 28-105 F2.8-4 DG Lens Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Canon 580EX Speedlite Flashgun Canon CP-E4 Compact Battery Pack for 580EX I took an avid interest in aviation photography at the start of the 2000′s when digital cameras became more accessible. My enjoyment was taken up a level when I discovered I could mix my love of light & colour with aviation photography by taking photographs. In 1983 I suffered a head injury which was diagnosed as a brain tumour. LIfe soon returned to normal in 1984 but in the early part of 2002 things turned nasty and headaches and sickness returned. To date I dont have a surgeon willing to operate on me and struggle by day to day. You will find more about this in my blogs……. Nothing will stop my photography, not even this head injury….this blog reflects my day to day life as a person with an interest in photography….with a headache to match Hope you enjoy….please feel free to contact me, anytime

Posted on March 2, 2013, in aircraft, Aviation, Flickr, Photography (Aviation), Sunrise & Sunset and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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