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Monday, May 21, 2012

Photographing the annular solar eclipse

Hubby went all in. He drove almost all the way to Redding (243 miles north of San Jose) to photograph the eclipse because he heard it would be the best place to view it in California. He wanted to get the moon passing almost completely in front of the sun. He'd been yammering about "Once in lifetime, blah, blah, blah" so at the last possible minute I decided I should photograph it too :)

Hubby's pictures taken from Red Bluff, CA on his Canon 5D MarkII

I knew you weren't supposed to look directly at the sun and that you shouldn't look at it through a live camera viewfinder because the camera would offer no protection to your eyes. I read an article that said looking at it through an LCD screen on your camera was safe but not to aim your lens at the sun for too long as the brightness can damage your camera. I shot freehand with an ISO of 100, f-stop 22, and shutter speed of 1/3,200 and a focal length of 300mm. A quick AF (auto focus) and snap, and I'd turn my lens away from the sun.

This is my favorite of the pictures I took in Santa Cruz.

But now I'm like "uh oh" because I just read a bunch of other online articles herehere and here. One specifically said you can fry your camera's image sensor photographing the sun so I'm hoping I didn't. Though if I did ruin my GF2 body it would be a great terrible excuse reason for me to want need to purchase the more recent GF3 Lumix camera body. LOL >:)

You can see the moon begin in the lower left and come up and around the sun.

I was in Santa Cruz the moment the eclipse began and the strangest thing happened: The walls came down and everyone became highly social. It was bizarre and really neat. All of a sudden people were coming out of buildings with special viewing glasses, pinhole pieces of paper or to just look at the sky which seemed to have a weird grey cast to it. . . And were talking to each other! Yup, strangers were talking to strangers. So many people talked to me I lost count of how many. The eclipse created a friendly, viewing-party-like camaraderie I hadn't expected. It's kind of too bad people can't always be so unafraid to talk to each other.

So here's hoping my GF2 camera is ok (well, kind of hoping). LOL When hubby returned home from his 7.5 hour round trip drive I shared with him my concerns about my camera and the solution I'd come up with if I had damaged it. He said he was also thinking if he ruined his 5D MarkII it would mean he'd have to replace it with the recently released 5D MarkIII. Not that he wanted to ruin his camera but hey, if he burnt it out what choice would he have? I'm pretty sure his camera is ok too :) Because I'm rarely bitten by the consumerism upgrade bug I felt like we were rather terrible people for not being satisfied with the great cameras we already have. But that's how they get you right? By always making new and better models of, well, everything.

Solar eclipse with crescent shaped lens flare.

Hubby did try to buy a solar filter but the stores were all sold out by the time he realized he should. I guess this is one of those rare times where he and I walked on the wild side by photographing the sun without the proper protective gear. Well, this and that time we did the Edgewalk in Toronto, but that's another story altogether :)

More cool lens flare.

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