Noufonts-Tête de l’Estrop / 408 Kms


The most distant sunrise

By Marc Bret
Camera Nikon P900 @ ISO100 – 1/1600
Lens F8 zoom 2000 mm eq.
Date July 16th 2019 – 06:20 aprox
May be  the most distant sunrise photographied in the world.

Five years ago, we managed to portray for the first time the cornices of the Alps from the Pyrenees and it was precisely this mountain our goal from the Canigó. In this new occasion the objective has been to portray it better and from further away, from the top of the Noufonts and this is the result. The Estrop partially eclipsing the great solar disk. Perhaps the astro-landscape photographed further away on our planet, thanks to the peculiar geography that extends between the Alps and the Pyrenees, the clean air and the sun.

As we have already explained several times, the conjunctions of the sun with some singular part of our landscapes are the magic that allows to appear at certain moments of the year certain distant reliefs almost always hidden by the atmospheric turbidity. Personally years ago I had the idea that certain mountains of the Alps could be seen from the Pyrenees thanks to certain astro-scenic moments. The Tête de l’Estrop was chosen from the Canigó for an alpine sunrise and a few months later (*) of that feat, conversely, another photographer chose a cornice from the Estrop massif to portray a sunset behind the Pyrenees. We recorded it in a report that we dedicate to him and it turned out to be (we believe) the photo of the most distant sunset of an astrolandscape in the world reached to date.

Personally, after our objective from the Canigó, I have always wanted to portray the Estrop in other sunrises from the other peaks of the Pyrenees and had already made some attempt in the past, although on a certain occasion the clouds got in the way and at other times for other reasons I didn’t go that.

For this new year, in May I was about to go, but in the date the clouds were too abundant. In this occasion in the middle of summer, however, it seemed that probably the sky could be clearly cloudless (although with some doubts) and I decided to go to the Noufons, a beautiful border point accessible from the Núria Valley and also chosen to be the farthest peak from the Estrop as well as the Finestrelles it was -3 years ago- in relation to the Barre des Ecrins and in that case a mundial record of distants lanscapes contemplated from the mainland.

Portraying the Estrop would also suppose the experience of knowing that we would be contemplating perhaps, the sunrise behind the most distant landscape ever seen before, or at least -maybe- not reported in pictures.

For get it I would must adapt to solar mathematics. The days in which the the Estrop cross in front of sun I deduced that it would be on July 16 and 17, but meteorologically (factor to be taken into account also) the most suitable seemed to be the first of both.

Said and done, with a couple of companions of adventures (Pep Puig, photographer and pau Gaspar, musiscian) we went to Núria walking from Fontalba (1:30) and from there during the night and before dawn, ascending to the Noufonts in a few hours more, walking most of the time without a flashlight, thanks to the light of the full moon.
At the foot of the Noufonts pass we planted a tent for rest because one of the companions had some problem. Then we continued towards the hill, the stretch was hard for Pau, but admirable because he had been voluntarily without eating anything for days and had the intention to continue living without eating..

When arriving at the cornice, a little before 6:00 am, the sky even at night presented that brilliance concentrated in a thin strip of the sky very distant above Italy, synonym of quite transparent atmosphere. Below a reddish stripe and already more tenuous the lower area. Immediately Ventor (319 Kms) was noticed but only the upper part was perceived with relative clarity.  That mountain is a great reference of Provence from the sea and from the land.. To the left there were the prealps and the higher elevations “something” was seen also, but that day it wasn’t my objective and I didn’t try to distinguish them or take pictures. The goal was the roof of Provence.

The moon was hidden near of Fontalba (our point of departure of walk) and the colleague Pau decided to stop close to the top of the NouFonts to contemplate serenely the dawn (he’s musiscian, not enthusiasm for pictures but he likes a lot to contemplate sunrises) and “feed on light” that was to emerge. I continued a little more upwards with the aim that the cornice of Puig del Racó Gros (which once hid me Ecrins from the Puigmal) would not hinder the vision of the Estrop.

I saw the first moment of the sun’s appearance and I photographed it. Then I was following the sun on a flat horizon.. Anyway, for a enough seconds nothing appeared. I thought that maybe there was a layer of low clouds or I also thought that maybe I had made a mistake in the precisions of dated…
Suddenly, when the sun was halfway through, the silhouette appeared!.
My objective of enjoying contemplation at a glance (in addition to taking a picture) I couldn’t it. The sun shone so brightly that it was dangerous (I thought), despite the distance and so much air in between. For prudence, I limited myself almost to look at the sun through the viewsecreen of the càmera.
By the other hand I had some problems with the focus. I had to focus first on other parts of the horizon to achieve the infinit and then point to the Estrop every time I made a new pic. When the mountain was positioned equidistant from both sides of the sun (although lower that I liked) I clicked. My goal was to try not only the summit of the Estrop but also another part of the massif slightly more distant and only perceived with good optical refraction factor (Trois Eveches). In any case, this eastern point didn’t have the aesthetic beauty of the Estrop.

After a few more seconds, the sun “took off” from the Earth and in conseqüence the Estrop disappeared completely hidden by the strong bath of atmospheric light. So there were no more opportunities, the peaks (Estrop and Eveches) showed less than the sunrise itself. The photograph, however, was made.

Soon the sun began to illuminate the peaks next to the Noufonts. The Finestrelles was one of the first, with Eina and Segre in both sides followed of the Puigmal, which although higher (2910 m), had the initial sun behind Canigó and therefore is not apt to see the top of the provence. The Finestrelles, so close, just 3 years ago, on the same date, had allowed me to portray the Ecrins. Soon after, the sun also illuminated the Pedraforca also, a silhouette of mountain much appreciated by many Catalans … And finally all that remained to be illuminated. The sun, shines for everyone.

Note (*): Between those days, a dramatic event took place in that mountain that unfortunately made it more famous than our photographs: The most terrible aviation accident of the last decades in Europe, the pilot of Germanwings committed suicide by crashing his plane full of passengers against the mountain.

We hope that nothing similar will happen again, that the Estrop attract in any case only “good follies”. Mountains can detonate many emotions and humans are strong and vulnerable at the same time in relation to the universe.

Some more pictures:

Thanks Pep and Pau for share this ascension and thank to all people that love the nature with its secrets and the beauty of all its landscapes.

Anex: Illustration of the panoramic simulation obtained thanks to the Ulrich Deuschle program for the Tete de l’Estrop seen from the Noufonts with the appropriate precise refraction.


Welcome to Beyond Horizons

Have you ever wondered what is that distant mountain?

Are you a photographer willing to capture state-of-the-art pictures?

If this is your case, or if you just landed here moved by your curiosity, please have a seat and enjoy the view…  We are Beyond Horizons, home of the longest distant sights on Earth!

Check it out! Distant sight World Record (443 km in a single picture!)

Make-of: We have a New World Record

An amazing world where Geography, Mountaineering, Meteorology and Photography come together to achieve sights that are beyond human imagination and to show us how beautiful our planet is.


Want some ideas? Check our list of the longest lines of sight.

Do not forget to send us your pictures of distant sights… the best will be published on the page each month!

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The Farthest Sights ever captured

timeline of the recordsTimeline of a World Record

In our daily life, the horizon is usually a translucid distant line, where objects get dim after a short distance.

Imagine all things affecting visibility: Geometry, Meteorology: Air Pollutants, Atmospheric Physics… It may seem complex, but from time to time conditions arrange so that we can see farther than usual.

And there are moments where we can see longer than anyone else has seen before.

It requires a great deal of coincidence for all possible parameters to allign so that we can see ultra distant objects. Deep knowledge, precise planning and perfect execution are also in the game.

It is not easy to reveal those distant landscapes, but the result is absolutely worth it.

It makes us feel lucky to be there. Photographers are lucky to be there. And is also of big responsibility.

They are the only ones out there, with the beautiful task to capture this moments, and give them to the world to admire.

This is our collection of the farthest shots ever captured.

Let us know if you have managed to beat the record: In Beyond Horizons we aim at being the worldwide check for any new World Record attempt. 

443 km

Finestrelles, Pyrenees to Pic Gaspard, Alps


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In Flight Pictures – Mont Blanc

39881499942_6ee6a1ae37_o.jpgOverview of the panorama from the flight
montb.jpgMont Blanc over the cloud tops just a few minutes before sunrise – The moment of best visibility
By Ramon Ibarz
Camera Nikon D90 @ ISO1000 – 1/250
Location Over Bourdeaux
Date August 22nd 2017 – 06:40

When we launched the In Flight picture category, we never thought to find something that impressive.

On groung to ground pictures, more than 300 km. is considered as an exceptional sight, but here we are talking about more than 500 km.
Absolutely a distance that is difficult to imagine.
On the Author’s words:
This photo was taken from a plane, flying over West France, near Bordeaux, 15 m. before the sun rises.
I used Generate a Panorama web, to identify the mountains and calculate the distance to Montblanc, aprox. 538 Km. away.
With the naked eye the MontBlanc highligths in the horizon.
This kind of photos could only be taken few minutes before the sun rise.

Canigó – Barre des Écrins | 412 km.

Close up on Barre des Ecrins and surrounding peaks
Overall view of Mont Ventoux and Golfe du Lion
By Juanjo Diaz de Argandoña / Marc Bret
Camera Nikon D5100 @ ISO200 – 2.5 s
Lens ED80 APO Refractor Telescope
Date August 12th 2017 – 06:00
If there is a picture that we always wanted to get is the view from Canigó peak looking North East… The complete chain of the Alpes Maritimes together with Mount Ventoux can be perfectly seen on the horizon.
And left of Mount Ventoux an small line of mountains shows up: Barre des Écrins, one of the greatest lines in Europe at 412 km.
No one could ever imagine that such a picture can be achieved in mid Summer, but August 12 is a day that we will remember forever.
Long before sunrise the brilliant horizon cutted the silhouettes above Golfe du Lion and the challenge was achieved.

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Pic de Finestrelles – Pic Gaspard / Ecrins | 443 km.

Current World Record of distant landscape photography

bp1410102-mbret.jpgBarre des Écrins (4.102 m) is in the middle left of the image.
Taken from Pic de Finestrelles (2.820 m)  at 440 Km, before sunrise.
In the rest of the pictures, another summits can be seen further away.
By Marc Bret (Beyond Horizons team)
Camera Panasonic Lumix FZ72 @ ISO100 – 1/250
Lens Integrated Zoom @ 1200 mm – f./2.8
Date July 16th 2016
Portraying the silhouette of the Barre des Ecrins from the most distant possible summit of the Pyrenees and get a new World Distance Record has been for us the last most recent target. The result is counted in the image: a view from Pic de Finestrelles (2.820 m.) to the Alps.

Want to try yourself? Don’t forget to check our reccommended cameras!

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Puy de la Seche – Pic de l’Infern | 403 km.

agrandissement pic de prats de bassibes

By Joseph Mordelet
Camera Canon Eos 1100d
Lens zoom sigma 70/300 à 300mm – f/7.1 – 1/200 – ISO 100
Date January 6th 2015 – 17:30

The farthest sunset ever captured!

The silhouette of the Canigó massif and Pic de Prats de Bacivers (Pyreness) in front of the sun with a superior mirage effect .
It’s probably currently the farthest sharp photo (*1) of a horizon made from another land point and and possibly also the most distant setting sun photographed. In this regard it’s a new world record.

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