We Have a Cecil…

By Don Laine

A Cecil, according to RMOWP’s own photographer Jack Olson, is a sunrise or sunset photo named in honor of Academy Award-winning producer Cecil B. DeMille (1881-1959), whose Biblical films featured characters such as Moses atop a mountain, arms raised to the fiery sky. You don’t capture Cecils very often, Jack tells us. They must be special in one way or another, a spectacular show in the sky, reminiscent of DeMille’s epic films.

Epic Sunrise © Jack Olson

DeMille did have at least one problem with the rising or setting sun, according to Internet Movie Database: During his silent days, DeMille was filming a romantic scene on a California beach. The script called for the couple to be walking along the beach as the sun slowly rose over the ocean behind them. When informed that the sun doesn’t rise over the ocean there but sets, DeMille told the camera crew to get a shot of a spectacular sunset and he would use rear-screen projection and run the film in reverse to make it look like sunrise. 

The actors were filmed on a soundstage and the sunset footage was reversed and projected on a rear screen to look like a sunrise. The film looked perfect, until DeMille noticed that the waves on the beach were flowing backwards into the ocean and the seagulls were all flying backwards!

About the above image, Jack tells us, “this sunrise was epic. When I got up it was mostly dark but I could see mountain wave clouds in the sky. That’s a good sign that something might be about to pop. So I set up looking out the open front sliding door to my porch. I took 58 shots! Over 26 minutes.”