Day 1 in Ecuador - Sunset Photography at Equator

Did you know at the equator, the daytime period always lasts about 12 hours, regardless of season. The sun always rises and sets vertically, following an apparent path nearly perpendicular to the horizon.

To a landscape photographer, this means you have limited time to capture the sunset colors.

For example: The colors faded almost completely just 10 minutes after sunset. Golden hour before sunset wasn’t long either in the past few days.

I took my first equator sunset shot at Quito, capital of Ecuador, two days ago, on our first day of South America trip. Quito means "the middle of the world".

This is one of my favorite shots of Cotopaxi from Teleferico, taken 6 minutes before sunset. It was a super easy camera setup, without any filters and filter adapters as the clouds were the best filters by themselves.

ISO100, 200mm, f/13, 1/40sec

ISO100, 200mm, f/13, 1/40sec

Here’s another photo taken in the same evening at the same spot, just at a different angle.

ISO100, 180mm, f/13, 1/40

ISO100, 180mm, f/13, 1/40

As you can tell, both of the above photos were taken from a telescope lens, which is typically not my top choice for landscape photos.

However, the view was so expansive, if you use a wide angle lens, or even a wider zoom on a telescope lens (see below example), you would end up too many subjects in a photo. (See some simple tips of how to improve composition)

ISO64, 140mm, f/13, 1/40sec

ISO64, 140mm, f/13, 1/40sec

In fact, my favorite final image is a cropped image of the first shot above, further narrowing on the subject of cotopaxi mountain peak (see below).

view of Cotopaxi from Teleferico 2019-09-14-002.jpg

I originally planned a sunset shoot at El Panecillo yesterday, but there was rain forecast. Plus, our little one didn’t wake up from his nap till after 4:30pm. We did the typical tourist walk around the historic center of Quito, around Plaza Grande, Plaza San Francisco etc. and skipped the sunset.

It was day 3 today, our last day in Quito.

We set out at 4:30pm trying to catch an early and quick dinner in Vista Hermosa. My plan was to go to El Panecillo afterwards to photograph sunset.

Unfortunately, we ended up an hour long Uber ride to the restaurant, as our friend Google didn’t provide the correct address. Traffic was horrible! Apollo was the only happy person in the car taking a perfect nap!

Fortunately, we arrived at Vista Hermosa as the first guests. I immediately jumped to the table next to the only open window. I didn’t know what to expect, but the view was spectacular!

El Panecillo (the hill with the winged Mary on top) was among the panoramic view right in front of us.

I knew I only had 5 minutes to set everything up and photograph before the sunset color would fade. So the following photo was my perfect and imperfect capture of El Panecillo.

El Panecillo seen from Vista Hermosa 2019-09-16-002.jpg

We are leaving tomorrow, and won’t have time to visit El Panecillo. Nevertheless, our el-panecillo-less short visit to Quito was eventful and memorable!