Shropshire Star

Ellesmere man tracks sun's path with stunning photograph that took six months to complete

A spectacular piece of photography that has taken six months to create has gone on display in an Ellesmere church.


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Jonathan Kimber, from Ellesmere, spent six months documenting the trail of the sun over St Mary's Church in Ellesmere with nothing but a pinhole camera.

A pinhole camera is effectively a light-proof box with a small hole in one side, when light from a scene passes through the pinhole it projects an image on the opposite side of the box. That image can be recorded with a piece of photosensitive paper inside.

One common use of pinhole photography is to capture the movement of the sun over a long period of time - also known as solarigraphy.

That was exactly the plan of Jonathan, who set up his pinhole camera on a lamp post outside St Mary's Church in Ellesmere on June 21 - the summer solstice - last year.

Jonathan Kimber

It stayed in place for six months, until the winter solstice on December 22.

The photograph shows an arch of pink sun trails from east to west, with the silhouette of St Mary's Church in front.

Jonathan's photograph - a six-month pinhole camera exposure

Jonathan explained: "Starting from the top to the bottom, we've got summer to winter, as the sun travels through the sky and drops through the sky every day.

"Every single line on this image is the sun passing through the sky on any given day. Where we can actually see a sun trail it means the sun was out, where we can't see a trail it means it was a cloudy day.

"We had a particularly poor summer in my opinion last year - and you can see that the top half is particularly grey, not a lot of sun, quite patchy. Just as the kids went back to school we had about a week of really nice sunshine."

Using a pinhole camera to track the sun between solstices is a fairly common practice among enthusiasts - who were this weekend celebrating 'Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day' which is observed on the last Sunday of April, every year.

Jonathan's stunning piece will be up on display in St Mary's Church.