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Chasing Horizons: 24 Sunsets in 24 Hours

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Chasing Horizons: 24 Sunsets in 24 Hours

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How did a watch company, an ex-NATO pilot and a photographer combine their skills to pull off one of the most daring and ingenious advertising stunts of all time?

Citizen Watch Company wanted a clever way to show off their new Eco-Drive Satellite Wave F100 watch, a state-of-the-art device that adjusts to the proper time-zone within 3 seconds, at the press of a button. Enter British photographer Simon Roberts and pilot Jonathan Nicol, who were challenged to chase the sun around the globe and capture all 24 sunsets in one day.

The project, titled ‘Chasing Horizons,’ took place at the 80th parallel north, a mere 690 miles south of the North Pole. The remote location was chosen due to the Earth’s smaller circumference and slower rotational speed, which allowed the plane just enough time to keep pace with the setting sun. Nicol and Roberts embarked on their journey in February, when the sun still sets regularly before the spring equinox.

The 24-hour journey required careful planning and execution. The crew had to map out a route that had never been flown, plan two time-sensitive refueling stops in -50 degree temperatures and also stave off the inevitable exhaustion from circumnavigating the globe. With virtually no margin for error, one mistake could have ruined the project, or, even worse, left Nicols and Roberts stranded in the Arctic wilderness.

Despite the perils, Chasing Horizons went off without a hitch, giving literal meaning to the mantra, “living in the moment.” Here is the result – all photos meshed together, all time zones accounted for:

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“We stole one night from the planet,” Simon Roberts said. “At every stage you expect something to go wrong, but of course that’s why you want to do it.”

Roberts, whose photographic expertise is in landscapes, never imagined he’d shoot a sunset project, referring to the subject matter as a bit ‘cliché.’

“Type sunset into Google and you’ll find one hundred million photographs…But then there was this idea that took it to the edge of what is possible. The thing about a sunset is that for every second that is happening, something is changing, something is shifting, and I suppose you’re sucked into the moment.”

To learn more about this incredible project, visit the Chasing Horizons website and check out a selection of photographs below.

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Photos courtesy of Simon Roberts

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