Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Eclipse With A Twist
I was fortunate to be able to watch the solar eclipse from the upper deck of my house. I live on the coast of North Carolina, where we could see the eclipse at about 90%. Even though we could not see "totality," it was a wonderful thing to view.
Initially I was not going to photograph it at all, content to just enjoy the experience. But the photo bug got the better of me and I decided to try photographing it on my iPhone, using the special solar eclipse glasses I was wearing to protect the phone's lens. That did not work since the dark lenses caused the phone's shutter speed to slow down dramatically, preventing me from getting a sharp image.
By then I was motivated to try my "real" camera with a long telephoto lens. This was my first attempt to photograph an eclipse of any sort, solar or lunar, so I did some quick internet research to determine settings and the safety of shooting with no protective filter on the lens. Turns out that when most of the sun is blocked by the moon's shadow, it is safe to shoot with no protective filtration on the lens IF you point the camera at the sun only very briefly, take the shot and then immediately turn the camera away from the sun. Of course you still need to protect your eyes from the sun's glare as well.
I set the lens on manual focus, and set the focus ring to infinity. Then I quickly took about a dozen shots during the minute or so that the sun was mostly blocked by shadow. Because about 10% of the sun was never blocked by the moon's shadow from my vantage point, the light intensity was still great, requiring a short exposure and very small aperture.
When I downloaded the images, I was thrilled to find that some had a starburst effect, somewhat similar to what was described in yesterday's blog. I did not expect to see this effect during a solar eclipse.
Because of the intense light there was no color in the image, so I took creative liberty and used the Split Toning feature in Lightroom to add the yellow color.
The final effect is very different from most eclipse photos you might see. So the lesson for all of us is to never stop playing and experimenting with your photography. You never know what surprises might come your way.
1/1250 sec at f/57, ISO 400. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens with Canon 1.4x extender for an effective focal length of 490mm on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better." --Ralph Waldo Emerson