03 March 2012

Personal Photography Project // Sunrise and Sunset

Recently I took part in the monthly Photo a Day challenge on Instagram which I blogged about in the previous post. As I have mentioned before, I took part to challenge myself to take at least one photo every single day for a month and see how I got on. Well, I surprised myself and found out I didn't need that challenge at all. Between my iPhone, my advanced point and shoot, and my DSLR cameras I take far more than just one photo a day.
The Photo a Day challenges are still going on, and they are really so much fun. Every month there are a new  batch of daily topics to take photos of. I would strongly suggest people try it even just for one month.

Now, I would first of all like to point out that I love iPhones and their cameras. I'm crossing my fingers for the day when Apple decide to bring out some sort of iCamera. I admire the quality of the camera on the iPhones, I adore iPhonography, I regularly use the photo apps,  I'm addicted to Instagram and I continually share my photos on multiple social networks.... but lets face it, the iPhone does way too much for you, too easily.

That's why I've decided to challenge myself in my own way. I didn't take part in the Feb challenge, but instead everyday wrote down a project for myself to use on my DSLR. My goal for these projects is to get up off my bum, learn new photography skills and techniques, gain more experience with my camera and build up a good background of photos at the same time.

My first project is Sunrise and Sunset.

I felt it was necessary to push myself to wake up really early to capture the sunrise. It's something I've always thought of doing but kept putting it off. I went to Stanley Park prepared to capture the sun rising behind the buildings... but the photo I ended up with was far from what I expected it to be:

Seaplane & Sunrise in Stanley Park

I luckily captured a seaplane taking off right above the sunrise. I was ecstatic!

I was also fortunate enough for it to be a frosty morning despite the beautiful skies. On my cycle home back through the park I cut across a garden and found these leaves infront of the sun.

Frosty Sunrise in Stanley Park

For sunset I went to the seawall on Coal Harbour near my apartment. The sky was turning a beautiful pink and the clouds looked like cotton candy. I could see how pink the sky was from my living room window, grabbed my camera and ran, I mean physically sprinted, to the harbour because I knew I only had about 10 minutes of this light left. I was lucky to get there when I did, I managed to fire off a few shots before the colour disappeared and ended up with this skyline with angled lines. I put a vintage layer over it (it's sort of becoming my style lately) and I'm so happy with how it turned out.

Vancouver Skyline at Sunset

What you need to do for Sunrise and Sunset shots:

*Check the internet for the times when the sun will rise or set and get to your location and set up at least half an hour early, more if possible. I did this with the sunrise and I'm glad I did. Where I thought I was going to get the shot turned out to not be the best location. I got a few shots in the place I thought I wanted but thankfully had enough time to cycle to different locations. I managed to get a range of different shots, my favourite being the one with the plane.

*Bring sunglasses. It doesn't matter if it's summer or winter you will be looking towards the sun a lot to see where it's positioning on your scene. Wear sunglasses to stop your eyes from hurting and from headaches occurring later during the day.

*Use live view or your LCD screen if possible. Looking directly at the sun is damaging for your eyes. This can be magnified if looking through a glass lens designed to allow a lot of light in. Try not to use your viewfinder as much as possible.

The original location for where I thought my photograph would come from. I also used my live view as much as possible while pointing the camera at the sun.

I thoroughly enjoyed taking photos of the sunrise, despite the 5:30am start. It's not something I expected to like. But now that I've pushed myself to do it I know that if I was ever asked to shoot a sunrise I'd look past the early start and remember how fun I find it. I'm glad I took the time and made the effort to try it.

Aoife x


  1. Chek out the photographers ephermis, it tells you loads about sunrise and sunset times, direction, movement of the sun etc. Very handy! Love your photos especially the plane!

  2. Thank you, Lorna! That's such a handy site :D