Glencoe Autumn Sunrise

Glencoe Autumn Sunrise was a shot that I had attempted two years earlier, planned well in advance by calculation of the sun’s azimuth and altitude when seen from this location, so it was just a matter of patience – and good fortune – that the right conditions would prevail during the window of opportunity that I had identified.

This is a classic viewpoint for The Pap of Glencoe and the Bidean nam Bian massif, on the northern shores of lovely Loch Leven at a small bay near Callert. If further encouragement is needed to visit this spot then an additional attraction is the view of Beinn a’Bheithir, the ‘Ballachulish Horseshoe’ rising proudly and directly opposite.

I had taken many images from this location before, in all conditions and at all times of year, but on this occasion I wanted something different and very special, so chose to capture sunrise at the very moment that it appeared over the mountains.

The ‘starburst’ pattern in Glencoe Autumn Sunrise, and its characteristics are down to the construction of the lens and the overlapping nature of the aperture blades. It is not achieved through the use any external filters. Success with a shot like this is down to assessing and maintaining the correct exposure of the composition before the sun appears in it, and then capturing the sun at the precise moment that the first rays of light emerge.

This now much more easily achieved with modern digital cameras using continuous shooting mode. Seven or even nine images are captured over a period of a few seconds and then saved to file via a memory cache. It is also important to use a remote control to avoid any possibility of camera shake that would completely destroy the intended sharpness of the image. It follows that the focus and exposure were carried out manually.

Date : 11th October
Location Map Reference : 087602 : Loch Leven.
Time : 0755 GMT

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