Dawn flight experience

Just a quick note for anyone flying at dawn. I’ve discovered something quite special.

You will need: A flight at dawn (I used FA128 CPT-JNB, but any early morning flight will work) and Ólafur Arnalds Island Songs album.

What to do: If, when you see that beautiful peach gradient beginning in the distance; that radiant glow stretching up from the horizon prior to sunrise, you switch on Ólafur Arnalds Island Songs album, you can enjoy a magical moment as the sun gently rises into view like some resplendent Nadorcott, accompanied by the mystical sounds of Ólafur and the Icelandic Chamber Orchestra.

It’s really quite something. I was lost in wonder for a few moments, and then when I glanced up again, sustained immediate and severe retinal damage. The sun comes up much more quickly than you might think, hey?

Maybe try to keep that fact in mind.

For me, flying – whether for business or pleasure – remains a special experience. This serendipitous discovery made this particular experience even better.

 

On sunrises

OK. Let’s talk about #RBOSS.
Fair warning: this could be a long one.

Names below have been redacted because this isn’t meant to be a personal thing, ok? 

I’m a member of several Facebook groups connected with and concerning the Isle of Man. I do this because I enjoy keeping up to date with the news from over there and because I will never get tired of looking at pictures of what is a very beautiful place. Some of the news and photos are lovely, some are less good, but they all go some way to portraying the uniqueness of Manx island life.

Well, mostly.

See, there are one or two people on the groups that evidently don’t feel their photography is good enough, or that their subject is simply not beautiful enough to share. Much of the time, I’d disagree: as with Cape Town (and as I have stated many times on this blog), everything you need to make a beautiful image is right there in front of your lens – you’re already a long way up that scale. The skill then comes in making something beautiful into something exceptional, but there are only a few photographers that can do that. Don’t knock yourself because you can’t do it, just as you shouldn’t knock yourself for not being able to do a sub-10 second 100m.

Continuing with my crap analogy, if you want to go 100m in 10 seconds (or less), you can: just cheat. Get on a bike or jump in a car. Of course, such devious methods are going to be easily spotted by athletics fans and fellow athletes, so you won’t get away with it, but still – technically – you did 100m in 9.5 seconds. Well done, you.

You can cheat at the photos too. Software that can remove people and distractions from your images, bring out the highlights on that dark wall against the bright sky or simply add a bit of “pop” to your photo, is readily available and look, there’s nothing wrong with using it to make what your camera saw look a bit more like what you saw.

Or what you wish you’d seen.

In addition, technically there are no rules here. What you like might not be what I like and vice versa. I hate over-edited photos; you might love them. But please, just be honest and tell the world that you’ve had a bit of a fiddle with Snapseed or Lightroom. Own your edits. You wouldn’t expect to get away with riding a 1000cc Honda CBR down the Olympic sprint track and still take away the gold medal.
Don’t take us for fools.

See, the thing is that I have contacts on the Isle of Man – specifically on the bit that you’re taking sunrise photos – and we can see that your photos have been embellished. A lot. We’ve taken to calling it the Ramsey Bay Over Saturation Society: #RBOSS

Here’s a photo from last Thursday’s sunrise there:

And here’s what you did with it:

Wow. #RBOSS much?

Both posted on Facebook, the top one got 19 likes, and the #RBOSS one 613.

But as I say, some people like edited photos more. And that bottom one clearly is edited, isn’t it?

Isn’t it?

Right.

So what’s going on then?

How strange that you’ve never seen colours like this before. It must be the UV filter our protagonist is using. So, what do UV filters do to bright, colourful images like sunrises and sunsets, then?

The extra flat piece of glass–which is often not coated–will cut the saturation (richness of colors) and contrast of your sunset photos.

Hmm.

One swallow doth not an over-saturated summer make though, so let’s see some more, shall we?

634 Likes. #RBOSS hitting the big time, baby.

“As shot”?

 

Mate, there were bits of Hiroshima just after the bomb went off that were less blown up than this.

One more, “for the lolz”?

#RBOSS on tour (just up the road a bit, anyway).
Glorious. And horribly over-saturated. But wait:

Can we just have a look around the outline of the cottage here? That telltale white fuzzy glow that comes when you… er… add a filter to your photos. Here’s one of some planes flying over our back garden that I hectically #RBOSSed just now to demonstrate:

Look at that subtle white fuzzy glow around the back plane, especially.
Recognise it?

So what is that weird smell of burning underwear?

 

I have questions. Here they are in no particular order.

Why would you #RBOSS your images?
To be fair, this question raises more questions than answers.
Do you, as I suggested above, not think that what you caught with your camera is spectacular enough? If not, why not? And why does it matter? Is this all about the instant gratification and self validation of getting Facebook Likes? It does seem that way.
That very first (unadulterated) image in this post is pretty, but it’s not going to get (and indeed it didn’t get) 600+ positive reactions. I’m fairly sure that the guy who took it isn’t very bothered about that. Mr #RBOSS though – well, evidently he couldn’t bear to post something so horribly pale peach, so washed-out, so drab, so ACTUALLY REAL.

And now if you’re going to do it, why lie about it?
I’m no world expert in the field of photography, but it’s clear to me (and lots of other people) that these images (and many, many more like them) have been altered. And yet, repeatedly, when asked directly, he denies it.

There’s a word for that behaviour.

The fact is that many people on that group are decent, honest individuals who are quite happy to believe that what is on those images is an accurate representation of what was going on in the sky that morning (or evening). And why would they not? After all, the guy who took the photo, the one who stood and gazed in wonder at the STUNNING ORANGE mildly pink sky has just said that that’s what came out of the camera.
I think it’s sad that they are being deceived this way. And it’s wholly unnecessary.

Other than those last two sentences, there’s no real conclusion to this post. I think I speak for many individuals when I say that it just needed putting out there. What people choose to do about it (spoiler: probably nothing) is up to them. It would be nice if it stopped, but it would be nice if people were just better generally and that’s not going to happen either. In the meantime, repeatedly taking the piss seems to probably be the best way to deal with it.

 

Oh, and for the record:

Reproduction [of screenshots of public websites] for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research is not copyright infringement.

So we good? We good. Thought so.

Have a special day.

 

Quota sun… rise

Ja. Not mine, obviously. And not here either. The dawn chorus currently starts at about 4:40am in Cape Town at the moment, about an hour ahead of official sunrise. So you’ll hopefully forgive me for being in bed at that time.

Fortunately, there are others who (albeit with a later start) are willing to go out and get that shot of the sunrise. Like this one of Higger Tor in in the Peak District.

The rocks you see are millstone grit. They’re coarse-grained sandstones of Carboniferous age and were used to make… wait for it… millstones(!) for use in the local water mills (and they gave the National Park its logo).
If you’re into your geology, there’s loads to learn right here. These dark rocks give the name to the “Dark Peak”, whereas the “White Peak” further south in the Park is characterised by its light-coloured limestone geology.

Now you know.

This photo was taken less than 15km from my family home in Sheffield. But I would still not have got up in time to take it.

STATS: June and the shortest day – Cape Town

We’re into June (cue comments of “where does the time go?” etc.) and Cape Town (last time I checked) is located deep (about 33 degrees deep) in the Southern Hemisphere.
The relevance of those temporal and geographical observations is that June contains our shortest day. And this year, much the same as every other year, June 21st has won through once again. [polite applause]

Note: I’m writing this on the morning of June 1st, but as I don’t know when you’ll read it, some of the tenses might be a bit off. What a tense situation (lol, geddit?) that may would have will been!

Today, June 1st, in Cape Town the sun rose at 0743, will reach its meridian at 1244, and set at 1745, giving a daylength of 10 hours, 02 minutes and 08 seconds.
Today is 52 seconds shorter than yesterday. I know you’ll notice/have noticed.

On June 21st, in Cape Town, the sun will rise at 0751, reach its meridian at 1248 (33 degrees (who knew?) above the horizon), and set at 1744, giving a daylength of 9 hours, 53 minutes and 32 seconds.
That’s more than a second shorter than June 20th was and a whole 2 seconds shorter than June 22nd will be.

BUT…

The days only get longer because the sun sets later. The sunrise continues to be at 0751 until June 24th and then gets even later (0752) until 5th July. However, this delay is offset by the later sunset to the extent that by July 8th, we’re back to a daylength of over 10 hours.

On June 21st, the sun will be 152.034 million kilometres from Cape Town, and while than might seem quite a long way away, we’re going to drift even further away until (again, obviously) the 5th July when we will be 152.092 million kilometres away. That might not sound like a big difference, but that’s an extra 580,000 km, meaning that the sunlight will take an extra 1.935 seconds to reach us on July 5th as it does/did/will have did on June 21st. I know you’ll notice/have noticed/have will did taked note.

For comparison, Cape Town’s longest day is December 21st.
On December 21st, in Cape Town, the sun will rise at 0531 (2 hours and 20 minutes earlier than June 21st), reach its meridian at 1244 (80 degrees above the horizon), and set at 1957 (2 hours and 23 minutes later than June 21st), giving a daylength of 14 hours, 25 minutes and 05 seconds (4 hours, 32 minutes and 27 seconds longer than June 21st.)

As for Cape Town’s latest sunset this year: you missed it (or maybe you didn’t, but it’s gone already) it was 2001 on January 6th. The sun that day was “just” 147.101 million kilometres away. Light from the sun took 16.648 fewer seconds to reach us on January 6th than it will on July 5th. And light goes fast, hey?

Sunrise

Being on the west coast, Cape Town is definitely better known for its sunsets rather than its sunrises. Want one of those early morning pictures taken from an urban environment? Go to Durban.
Durban’s geographical location on the east coast of South Africa means that the sun tends to pop up there way before the sleepy Cape has even contemplated leaving its slumbers. Sunrise City, Durban is.

I’m not in Durban, but when I saw the sky beginning to light up this morning, and with Mrs 6000 volunteering to take on the school run, I took the opportunity to chuck Florence the Mavic Pro up to about 120m and snapped this:

Not bad, Cape Town. Considering you’re more about the evening thing, not bad at all.

And no, I’m not a bad workman blaming his tools the local atmosphere, but the mist and the pollution over the Cape Flats makes this image look misty and polluted. The camera isn’t to blame. The subject actually is misty and polluted. Photograph is accurate. We need some wind and rain to clean things up a bit, although then that makes flying less possible.
Catch 22, ne?

As ever, this looks better bigger and on a black background, here.