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How I got the shot: Pope Francis beneath a sparkling sun

May 31, 2017 GMT
Pope Francis is silhouetted as arrives for his weekly general audience, in St.Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis is silhouetted as arrives for his weekly general audience, in St.Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis is silhouetted as arrives for his weekly general audience, in St.Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Every Wednesday, Pope Francis shows up in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican for his weekly audience. And every Wednesday, an AP photographer is there to take a few pictures -- but mostly to be ready just in case something unexpected and newsworthy happens.

Andrew Medichini, an AP photographer who’s covered three popes going back to 1997, has seen his share of weekly audiences. He tries to inject some creativity into his approach, to keep things interesting on an assignment that can be repetitive.

That’s how he ended up with the above photo, showing the pope in silhouette below the sun.

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Here, in Andrew’s words, is how he got the shot:

TIMING: “It was around 10 a.m., just at the end of the pope’s car tour of St. Peter’s Square. The sun is already pretty high at this time of year.”

THE LIGHT: “The photo is more or less exposed for the sun not to just blow out the sky -- in other words, everything else is underexposed.”

STARBURST EFFECT: “You have to use a very closed aperture or f-stop. In this case, f/16. Using a very closed aperture means that the aperture in the lens -- that’s the hole where the light gets through -- is very small, and so spot light sources such as the sun tend to form the star. Technically, it’s a defect.”

PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF: “It’s one of those pictures I’ve tried many times. It’s the first time it somehow worked.”

THE SPECS: Canon 1DX Mark II with a 16-35mm f/2.8 lens.

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See more of Andrew Medichini’s photos on AP Images.