September 16, 2022



Photographer: Marco Meniero 

Summary Author: Marco Meniero 

I finally managed to photograph an optical phenomenon that’s eluded me for years, namely the sylvanshine, a faint reflection of light produced by micro-drops of water on the leaves of trees. See slighter brighter patches adjacent to the arrows on the above photo. Essentially, dew drops on waxy leaves reflects beams of sunlight back toward the observer -- a type of backscatter mechanism.

The phenomenon was explained in 1994 by Professor Alistair Fraser, an expert in meteorological optics. According to his analysis, the wax on the leaves causes the water to form beads, which in effect become micro-lenses, focusing the light to a spot on the leaf's surface. The image at this spot is then directed in the opposite direction. This effect can even make certain trees appear snow-covered on moonlit summer nights. Photo taken from Viterbo Airport, on September 6, 2022, at 09:38 a.m. local time.

Photo details: Nikon Z9 camera; Nikon S 14-24 lens; 2.8; 32 ISO; f / 3.2; 1/160 second exposure. 


Viterbo Airport, Italy Coordinates: 42.43611112.061667

Related Links:

Opposition Effect

Marco’s Website