Sunrise & Sunset | The best light of the day

Sunrise | Leeds Bradford Airport

Photostitch – Gorgeous sky this morning providing lovely silhouettes of the airport terminal

Sunrise & Sunset | The best light of the day….well it is in my humble opinion.

I have taken low light images of the dawn and the dusk all over the world…I am not ashamed to say that I find them fascinating, for every one is different.
I can appreciate you are not all photographers or even have an interest in photography, but this is something that we have all seen. The gorgeous tones of the setting sun are irresistible, the human eye finds the orange’s, yellow’s and red’s just so attractive we cannot resist but to stop and look.

From Wikipedia  – Sunset or sundown is the daily disappearance of the Sun below the horizon in the west as a result of Earth’s rotation.The time of sunset is defined in astronomy as the moment when the trailing edge of the Sun’s disk disappears below the horizon in the west. The ray path of light from the setting Sun is highly distorted near the horizon because of atmospheric refraction, making the sunset appear to occur when the Sun’s disk is already about one diameter below the horizon. Sunset is distinct from dusk, which is the moment at which darkness falls, which occurs when the Sun is approximately eighteen degrees below the horizon. The period between sunset and dusk is called twilight. Locations north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle experience no sunset or sunrise at least one day of the year, when the polar day or the polar night persist continuously for 24 hours. Sunset creates unique atmospheric conditions such as the often intense orange and red colors of the Sun and the surrounding sky.

Which would you prefer? Go on tell me…Are you an early riser or a night owl?

Quite a few years ago, 1990 to be precise I was approached by a very nice fellow called Mike Priestley from the Telegraph & Argus newspaper in Bradford. I had spent the Autumn of this year in Barbados and had taken my trusty SLR camera with me on my travels. In the time spent in the Caribbean I had managed to surface before sunrise and find my way from the sunlounger before sunset to capture the colour of the West Indies. Mike had picked up on my images after spotting two on the wall of the photo laboratory in Boots the Chemist whilst he was out and about in Bradford. Boots had purchased the images from me weeks earlier after they were noticed during the processing and with my permission and negotiating they enlarged two and put them on the walls in the shop.
Mike rang me whilst I was at work; Could you call in and see us please, bring a few images with you and we would like to do a small article on your work. Well, you don’t turn down publicity like that do you? No, you don’t. Within a couple of days I had dropped off a handful of prints (yes this was way before digital imaging) and Mike interviewed me to discuss the history of my hobby.

I went away from the Telegraph & Argus offices feeling really happy with myself, that was two successful photography related enquiries and I had only been back from Barbados a few months. What happened next took me completely by surprise. A colleague at work rang me from his own department…”Mark, have you got a copy of the T&A this lunchtime”….no, why? “You might want to pick one up and look on page 12” … Okay, that was a job for lunchtime.
I knew exactly what it was, my article by Mike Priestley. I dashed out of the door like a bullet from a gun at lunchtime, heading straight for the nearest newsagent. You can imagine the shock and the look on my face when I opened page 12….the small article with an image was missing. What greeted me was a full colour page all about me, sunsets and my photography.

Sunset Strip - Mark Winterbourne

Telegraph & Argus – Page 12 – 10th May 1990

Well, what could I say …  I was so proud of my achievement. I was 21 years old and getting some attention as a photographer. I think the success of the Telegraph & Argus article inspired me to keep shooting sunsets and sunrises. In reflection, it’s very easy to point a camera at a scene and capture what you think you can see…Its never as easy as that, and low light photography is an art in itself. Sunsets and Sunrises are never the same…finding new locations, with new foregrounds is always a challenge.

The Digital Era & My Sunsets

Shooting sunsets and sunrises was a challenge when using film, be it negative print or positive slide was a tough challenge to get it right first time. Anything but the correct exposure on the roll of nitrocellulose or cellulose acetate (a.k.a. film) and you were in a predicament. Even worse, you had to wait for the results;  no instant preview, no deleting the image. It was simple; you had to wait until it had been processed and printed, or in the case of slide film mounted in to small frames and waiting for the Royal Mail. Finding that your beautiful sunset was underexposed by two stops and was too dark is a real kick in the crown jewels. The only way forward is to learn where you went wrong and make sure it didn’t happen again. Things have changed so much over the years. Sunsets need not be so spectacular anymore to make a real image…my very good friend from Adobe can help in most instances should something go wrong; not that I would ever rely on Photoshop to help me out in that situation as some images can just be unusable and down right poor from the start. Photoshop has the ability abeit with restrictions, to fill in the gaps that the photographer didnt quite get right on the day. However, having the skill to make changes is another chapter in itself and I am not going to discuss it in this section. I am sure if you come back in a while of become a follower of my blog you will find it appear one day soon.

In answer to all questions.. YES, it has changed me…but hasnt it changed everything. I would like to think my original “style” as a photogrpher is still intact.

Thanks for reading


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