Sequential Sunrise – Too Busy to Write

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I have a friend here who is a contractor for building and maintaining network systems. He’s a very busy guy and is often out of town. I got my boss’s (Eunie) permission to hire Mark to help me build a whole new network according to his specifications so that, when I need a holiday, I can rest easy knowing that Mark can come in to fix anything that goes wobbly. It’s hard work and leaves me little time for anything else. However, yesterday morning I got one of the best sunrise sequences that I’ve ever seen, so I’m going to toss the images up here with little comment.

I don’t have to yammer on about this one. The images speak for themselves. I’ll just say that the exposures changed radically as the light increased, but I’ve normalised them to the same brightness. I’ve also modified the colours in each image to suit my aesthetic taste – gaudy. Each image is made of of two to four exposures merged together in Photoshop.

So, I’ll loose the comments and show you what a beautiful half-hour I enjoyed.

This is first light:

Sequential Sunrise at Madang - First LightIt was quite dark still. I couldn’t see the controls on the camera. It was on a tripod and this was a fifteen second exposure.

Now the sky brightens a little and we get a few rays from the shadows of huge towering clouds over the horizon:

Sequential Sunrise at Madang - Sky BrighteningThis was only a two frame shot. The angle it covers is not as wide.

In this four frame shot we have a wider angle. Some of the lower clouds are illuminating as the sun rises toward the visual horizon:

Sequential Sunrise at Madang - A little Brighter- Jan MessersmithI was getting a lot of purple impressions at this time, so I enhanced the image in that way to capture the moment as I felt it.

The sun is now nearing the horizon and we’re picking up some more shadows of clouds nearer to us, but still below the horizon. That’s why the rays (banding of the light) change as the sun rises. Different sets of clouds below the horizon cast shadows that we can see:Sequential Sunrise at Madang - Some Rays FromingIt was getting very yummy about this time. I kept thinking to myself, “These are going to be great!” What a wonderful way to start off the day.

The sun disk has not yet risen above the horizon at my elevation (my camera was about two metres above sea level), but the clouds over Madang are already ‘seeing’ the rising sun. So, they catch fire!

Sequential Sunrise at Madang - Clouds Catching FireThe shot above and the next one are definitely going on calendars. I’ll make some money for them. You’re welcome to use any of these as desktop backgrounds or screen saver images.

Though the shot above has more colour, this one, just as the sun’s disk is rising above the horizon, is my favourite:

Sequential Sunrise at Madang - Sun nearly over the horizon - Jan MessersmithWhy? Well, it’s because I caught three birds. Click to enlarge. I’ve given you an extra large image, more pixels than I usually upload.

When you see the image on your screen, especially on a black background, it gets a lot of depth from those three birds. If I stare at it for a minute or so, it snaps into 3D. It’s a little trick that I learned. You might want to try it. Think about the birds being closer and just stare at it. I’d be interested to know if anybody else notices this.

This also works for stars at night if you have a very clear, dark sky. If you lie on your back and think about the brightest stars being closest and the dimmer stars being far away (which is, of course, not so) you may get lucky enough to see everything suddenly snap into 3D and you’ll be staring with wonder into the depths of the universe.

I still managed to blab on a bit, didn’t I?

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14 Responses to “Sequential Sunrise – Too Busy to Write”

  1. Steve Goodheart Says:

    Wow, what a knock-out series….transcendently beautiful! You’ve inspired me to get to work on that SF Bay sunset sequence I got last night. I hope it’s 1/10th as good as this. You grace our lives with great beauty, O Busy One. Thank you.

  2. Walt Says:

    Very nice! They look great going across my 2 monitors as a desktop. Thanks!

  3. Robert@PNG Says:

    Hail the master of sunrises!!


    PS. my current “project” – got a personal URL Shortening service up and running ( Eg: my links page: or my latest post:

  4. MadDog Says:

    Amusing. And it works! How did you do it?

  5. MadDog Says:

    Hey Walt, that’s a nifty idea. Can you send me a picture? I’ll put it up on the site to show what a clever boy you are. I wish I’d thought of it.

  6. MadDog Says:

    Oh, busy one . . . I like that. I’d rather be a little less busy. At least I’m beating my latest magazine article deadline by a week – a first! It did require working Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday. The sacrifices we make for our art! (not to mention the few bucks I get for the article)

  7. Robert@PNG Says:


    It’s called technical wizardry!!

    Two steps:

    1) Already had the domain (
    2) Installed and configured YOURLS ( – separate software to WordPress.


    PS. Host my stats collection too now – using product called “Piwik” – as good as Google Analytics for my modest needs

  8. MadDog Says:

    Aren’t you the clever boy, grabbing a Lituanian country code.

  9. Robert@PNG Says:


    One day over a “toddy” I’ll tell you the story about the fun and games I had getting the DNS side of things sorted out. I picked up the idea from the founder of WordPress “Matt” who has the domain name – Trinidad Tobago!


  10. Robert@PNG Says:


    Forgot to mention… lithuanian domain names cost an arm and a leg!! (Roughly four bottles of top shelf duty free)


  11. Steve Goodheart Says:

    Hey MadDog, congrats on beating your deadline by a week. I know how good that feels, believe me.

  12. MadDog Says:

    I had an extra beer last night. (for a total of TWO)

  13. MadDog Says:

    What? You WENT TO LITUANIA to get a domain name? Or did you just send them the money?

    I wonder what a .tv costs.

  14. The Quintessential Sequential Sunrise | Madang - Ples Bilong Mi Says:

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