I live about 2 km away from Casa Loma, and from my vantage point of my 10th floor apartment the sun sets behind the castle twice a year. I spent months looking out my window at sunset time to figure out when it would do this. Once I got the first date (Aug 15), it was a simple matter to go to an astronomical calculator to find the second date (Apr 22). On each occasion, there is roughly a 4 day window (if the weather cooperates), and on each of those days there is about a 3 to 5 minute span where you’ve got a killer frame.
To further the difficulty, I decided to to a time lapse series. For those that have attempted this before, there is no end to the problems that can occur. You have to remember to put the lens in manual focus mode, if it auto focuses on each frame then it can find a different point of focus and ruin the smoothness of the movie. I’m using a long 300 mm lens, and if I forget to leave the mirror up (by putting it into live mode), then the movie can be jittery and not as sharp. And then you have to rely on the camera’s AI to evaluatively auto meter because you can’t have a fixed exposure when going from day to night, if it does it wrong (and it’s never seemed to get it perfect), then the brightness can pulsate and you have to spend long hours doing the colour correction.
I also decided to embrace dynamic range limitations of all cameras (especially digital), so I cranked up the contrast and lowered the shadows to get a silhouette look. I over saturated to make the colours pop, but the colours in the photos are the actual colours, they were not changed.
On the 7th good weather attempt (over two windows), I managed to get some really good still frames with the time lapse and decided to submit a couple of them to photo contests. Since contests do not let you submit the same photo to a different contest, and I had hundreds available from the time lapse, they are slightly different from one another. So click on the links and if you like them, please vote for them.
The NOW Magazine / Canon photo contest. This is a local Toronto free paper and there aren’t many submissions, so my chances are relatively good.
National Geographic YourShot. Not strictly a contest, but any kind of recognition here would be a real ego boost for me. There are about 10,000 submissions per week from some really top notch photographers. You may have to register to “like” the photo. This is the only photo that I’ve captured in all 8 attempts that has an airplane silhouetted in the sun.
As for the time lapses, I haven’t decided what to do with them yet, so I am not releasing them to the wilds of the internet. I may release some of the failed attempts though, which can still be quite spectacular, but not what I wanted.