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15th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
Fireball

The majority of wildlife photos are enlighted by the sun; however, it is really challenging to make a wildlife image showing the sun’s disc itself. The difficulty lays in the relatively small size of the sun, its position as well as its brightness. Such combination of all factors is mostly given when the sun is close to the horizon, but at this point we can also experience how fast the Earth moves, as the good moments depend on a few seconds. Even in case of clear sunrise and sunset we have only a few minutes to take good images. At this very moment an animal is to be composed into the foreground, which takes careful planning, especially in case of shy species that can be shot from hides only as the position of the sun and the camera is given, and it depends on the animals whether they walk into the space between them. A further problem is that it is not recommended to look into the view-finder when the sun is there because it can damage the eyesight, which is another reason why well-composed images can be made with such difficulty.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 08.2016
Date Uploaded: 11.2017
Photo Location: Mkuze, South Africa
Camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
Copyright: © Bence Mate