Hatsuhinode (初日の出) in Japanese is the first sunrise of the year. It’s considered an auspicious event so much so that it’s enough to get people out of their warm beds to crazy heights, like the top of Mt. Fuji, for a view of the first sunrise.
But no one had ever traversed as high as Keisuke Iwaya did earlier this month when he sent a balloon-powered camera 30 km (18.6 miles) into space to capture the first sunrise, trumping those suckers at Mt. Fuji’s summit by about 16.3 miles. And he did it all on a shoestring budget – 25,000 yen (about $250) spent at his local hardware shop. This excludes the cost of the Gopro Hero 3, as well as the iPad he used to control his device from the ground. Both survived the rise and fall.
On January 1, 2014 at around 5:30 AM the Hokkaido native set his contraption into the air. The entire flight lasted 110 minutes before the balloon popped (as programmed) 30km above land. The camera fell back to Hokkaido and was retrieved thanks to a GPS device.