18 March 2014

Chasing the Green Flash on the coast of the island of Tenerife, Canary Islands.

Series of 162 images saved together in a Gif animation showing the Green Flash.
Shot in Tenerife, Canary Islands.
Credit: S. Lamoureux/Astronomy club Toutatis.

I have been chasing the Green Flash for some time now. I tried my luck in Cambodia on the shores of the bay of Thailand, but some strange dust veil covered the setting Sun and I couldn’t see a proper Sunset. 
Read my other post on Green Flashs: What is a Green Flash?

This time while taking a vacation on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands with my family, the infamous Green Flash revealed itself to me.
An easy downhill walk from the hotel to the beach was enjoyable every night. I have to add also that the setting Sun was just to the left of the Island of La Gomera. A few degrees more and the Sun would have set behind the island.  So I was lucky.

Sun setting just at the left of the island of La Gomera, Canary Islands.
A few degree more and the Sunset would have set behind the island.
Images taken from Tenerife, Canary Islands.
Credit: S. Lamoureux/ Astronomy club Toutatis.
I had a Canon 550D with an old 300mm teleview lens equipped with the Magic Lantern software. My plan was to take a couple of shots to focus and frame the Sun correctly and just take pictures like crazy. I used the intervalometer mode added by the Magic Lantern software and took shots every second or so. The software is loaded onto the SD card in the camera simple reboot installs the software into the camera. This type of shooting permits you to do individual picture (in this case a still picture composition of the green flash), Timelapse animations or videos and in other cases Startrail pictures as well.        

Here you can see that I used all my shots to produce two short animations of the setting Sun and a still picture composition. The animations give you a real sense of movement to it and shows well the green flash in action. On the other hand the still picture give you time to observe the phenomena in details (click on still picture to enlarge).

To do the animations I used Photoshop to crop the images, there are no colors or levels or nothing adjusted only crop to get an adequate size for the animations. Then I dropped all the images in Gimp and made a Gif animation out of it. Simple and effective!
The still composition is made from 3 images and put together in Photoshop. (No levels adjustments has been made either on the still picture). It was important to keep all the true data from the images and show the real thing. All images where recorded in RAW.

A still picture composite of 3 different images of the Green Flash.
Tenerife, Canary Islands.
Credit: S. Lamoureux/Astronomy club Toutatis.
As I was watching the Sun going down, I was looking through the camera eye to see the Green Flash in action. No knowing too much what to expect I saw the Sun setting and saw the greenish colors on top of the Sun on different occasions during the Sunset.
My first reaction was a loud laugh and a sense of achievement. I had the Green Flash in my back pocket! What a feeling! I guess the people around me felt it too.

Enjoy the animations and pictures. If you are like me and want to chase the Green Flash, just do it. It was very worth it and this is a phenomena that not much people have seen. Good luck and great Sunsets.  

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