Monday, June 25, 2012

The Solar Eclipse

Originally I wasn't going to photograph last months solar eclipse. All I read about it was, that without a proper solar filter you would ruin your cameras sensor and so forth. And needless to say, all the solar filters were sold out or exceedingly expensive.
To add to this, we here on the West Coast wouldn't see the full annular eclipse, just a partial one.
So only a half moon shaped eclipse over Half Moon Bay...
But as the day came closer and all photographers on the internet shared their story about how they were getting ready to shoot this once in a lifetime opportunity, I wondered how I could join them without spending a couple hundred dollar for a solar filter and without risking my camera. Taking stock of my filters, I decided on a 2-stop neutral density filter plus a 2-stop graduated neutral density filter should do the trick. I have quite frequently shot directly into the sun without doing any harm to my sensor, so I decided to give it a try.
The first images I tried were either totally underexposed or the sun was absolutely blown out. I went for the underexposed (to expose the sun right) and photographed in 10 minute intervals with the intent to merge them later in photoshop to show what was happening.
Kind of the same idea as with the lunar eclipse last December. The following image is the result. The little "suns" left and right are the suns reflection in the filter.


Now this worked out, kind of, but was not really what I had envisioned. I figured one really would need a solar filter to capture a decent photo...


But then, the normally dreaded fog started to move in, and provided me with the best ever natural solar of charge!

Not quite the usual eclipse photos, but I like them nevertheless. And I learned another lesson: Even if you are not totally prepared, be there and give it a try!


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