Everybody else seems to have taken a photo of the recent partial eclipse as seen from various parts of the globe, including the fortunate few who experienced a full-blown blackout experience, so I thought I’d post mine (and I probably won’t get an opportunity to use them anywhere else). Unlike UK ‘eclipse chasers’ who jetted off to the Faroe Islands, I set a camera up in my garden and waited for events to unfold.
At sunrise it didn’t look too promising as grey cloud ominously hung from horizon to horizon. An hour later breaks began to appear and I started to get excited. Although almost every article I had read in the build-up to this eclipse had extolled the virtues of clear skies for excellent views, I hoped for at least some cloud. I knew that a full-on mid-morning sun would be too much for my camera to cope with and that a thin cloud layer would knock it back enough for me to get something.
My setup was a sturdy Gitzo tripod, 500mm lens plus an x1.4 converter. This gave me a reasonable size image of the sun/moon overlap. Now I had a challenge on my hands; how do I avoid melting my eyeballs when trying to focus my lens? Fortunately, I have a very useful feature on my camera – a depth of field preview button. With the smallest aperture size selected and the DOF preview pressed, my lens stopped down and allowed me to look through long enough to manually focus on the sun. This is a technique that I have used before when photographing birds in silhouette at sunrise. It worked well then and it worked well here.
I quickly came to realize that the most interesting pictures by far were created as blobs of cloud drifted by. Light seemed to be refracted into a range of colours that gave me a much more interesting canvas to work with than a clear sky ever would. The eclipse was a celestial event that went through its motions at its own pace. I kept taking pictures, adjusting my camera to track the ever-rising sun and then taking some more pictures. I was having a great time. At maximum eclipse (90% covered) it looked as if the sun was enjoying the moment too, beaming a nice wide smile in my direction.