A Picture I Took

A partial eclipse passed through town the other day. Perhaps someday scientists and astronomers will be able to predict these things, but on that morning I was woefully unprepared. But I have a nice camera, a steady tripod, and a ND-100000 filter that makes it safe to point a camera directly at the sun.

In my rush to set up the camera to catch the eclipse at its eclipsiest, I didn’t use the tripod mount on the lens, which made my setup pretty front-heavy, but fortunately my ball head was up for the task with only a little cursing.

In my previous tests taking pictures of the sun with the ND-100000 filter, I found that autofocus was pretty helpless. I’m pretty sure there are focus points on the sensor that are suited for this, and I had intended to read up on focusing on the sun with my camera, but then the clock was ticking and I just did a manual focus bracket.

Hanging in the middle of a black sky, a partial eclipse is actually pretty boring without some context. Had there been any warning that the eclipse was coming, I could have planned a shot with some terrestrial context. Luckily for me, there were some high clouds visible even through the black glass when directly backlit by the sun.

There were shots with really interesting clouds, but the sun was out of focus. Then there were shots with a tack-sharp sun and boring (or no) clouds. Yawn.

This shot, however, was pretty ok. The clouds excuse the slight softness of focus, and they’re doing interesting things.

I like that there are layers of darkness, and there is a feeling of motion. It takes a little thought to realize that no crescent moon could ever look like that. Still, in a way, it is a picture of the moon.