October 23, 2014 Eclipse

 

A while back, Bob Adams told me that a partial eclipse was taking place today.  I have shot solar events before (found HERE and HERE) and they are by far the most difficult photography I can recall doing (please refer to those 2 links for additional tips in shooting these events).  Because of that, I wasn’t too motivated for today.  However, Bob sent me a reminder email that got me out there, and here’s what I brought back.

The music for this page is “Green Thoughts” by The Smithereens“Deep Black”  is a must; a truly wonderful, Fall-like, haunting song.  The entire CD is rather solid, but short (36 minutes).

 

OCT_ 23_ 2014__001bNikon D7000 with a with a Tokina 12-24mm F/4 AT-X PRO DXII lens shot at f/5 and a 1/100 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 22mm (APS-C).

I wanted a high vantage point and the best one nearby is the Highway 10/610 overpass at the Anoka County Airport in Blaine, MN.  Now this looks way worse than it was.  I chuckled when I took the shot as it appears to be a very busy road.  I was there for an hour with no issues as U.S.S. Nimitz was pulled deep into the shoulder (others were stopping here, too).

 

 

 

OCT_ 23_ 2014__012Nikon D7100 with a Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD lens/Tamron SP AF lens and 2X tele-converter shot at f/90 and a 1/8,000 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 600mm (APS-C).

Here is essentially what came out of my camera before the cropping and Photoshop work.  Yes, yes, yes, I know; the sun is totally blown out.  Even at 1/8,000 of a second, it’s simply too bright.  My variable ND filter would have helped but it doesn’t fit my Tamron tele (and I ain’t spending $200 to get one for it).   

I should explain the f/90 (!) aperture.  The Tamron usually goes up to f/45, but note I am using a 2X tele-converter, so it doubles it to f/90.  There you go.

 

 

 

OCT_ 23_ 2014__002aNikon D7000 with a with a Tokina 12-24mm F/4 AT-X PRO DXII lens shot at f/4 and a 1/60 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 12mm (APS-C).

That’s me!  Really!  I’m rather tall at 6 foot, but the low sun angle gave me stilts for legs.  This was a total grab-shot, but I think it’s cool, so here it sits (or stands…whatever).

 

 

 

OCT_ 23_ 2014__005Nikon D7100 with a Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD lens/Tamron SP AF lens and 2X tele-converter shot at f/90 and a 1/8,000 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 600mm (APS-C).  IMAGE CROPPED.

I took a bunch of images, and some had some extra lens flare, and some didn’t (not sure why).  This did, and I liked how it looked.  The sun started getting out of my frame here, but again, I preferred that to my other shots.

 

 

 

OCT_ 23_ 2014__009aNikon D7000 with a with a Tokina 12-24mm F/4 AT-X PRO DXII lens shot at f/7.1 and a 1/320 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 22mm (APS-C).

A view of my D7100 gazing into the sun.  The lens flare from the Soupcan Stan (on the D7000) creates a neat effect as it looks like the sun is shooting plasma and photon torpedoes at the tripoded Nikon.  Note; a lens cap was in place on the D7100 when not shooting.

 

 

 

OCT_ 23_ 2014__011GNikon D7100 with a Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD lens/Tamron SP AF lens and 2X tele-converter shot at f/90 and a 1/8,000 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 600mm (APS-C).  IMAGE CROPPED.

Clearly my best eclipse image for today, but some explanation is required.  Full disclosure; I did some Photoshop manipulation here.  Noteworthy was removing some serious chromatic aberration (a vivid red outline of the sun), which was likely caused by the tele-converter.  I also enhanced what had been washed-out colors (I added a “warming filter”), and cleaned up the color on one of the sunspots.  Otherwise, this is straight out of the camera.  I’m rather pleased with this photograph.

A guy pulled up behind me and was photographing this with a long tele lens, hand-held, from inside his car.  I’m guessing his images didn’t turn out so well.

 

 

 

OCT_ 23_ 2014__013bNikon D7100 with a Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD lens/Tamron SP AF lens and 2X tele-converter shot at f/11 and a 1/160 of a second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 600mm (APS-C).  IMAGE CROPPED.

A closing shot; in more ways than one.  After I took it, the remainder of my eclipse images were soft.  Because of the situation, I was in manual focus, and also was using “live view” (which I never use because I hate it; I’m old school).  So I didn’t notice the images after this were out of focus (my fault).  An excellent image of the sun setting into a grove of trees was ruined.

 

You may recall when my eyes got zapped from the eclipse shoot in May of 2012.  I’m happy to report that I was very careful on this shoot and had zero issues.  Much of that can be attributed to using live view on the DSLR.  That cost me at least 1 quality image (had I used the viewfinder I would have noticed the soft focus), but saved my eyes.  Truly a fair exchange. 

Although this event wasn’t easy, I enjoyed it, so that was a victory.  Special thanks to Bob for giving me a pair of eclipse viewing glasses; those worked great!  They allowed me to safely enjoy the eclipse when I wasn’t shooting.  Post-processing was also indeed difficult, but as you saw with the sunspot image, at least I got something to show.

 

all images © Scott Woelm – October 2014