Friday, March 20, 2015

Photographing the Solar Eclipse

Although it wasn't going to be a total eclipse in this corner of Scotland, there was going to be something in the region of 90%. And I wanted to have a go at photographing it.

Knowing it can be dodgy to point my camera directly at the sun, I figured I needed an ND filter, which reduces the amount of light entering the lens. My friend, landscape photographer, Allan Wright, came to my rescue and supplied me with a couple.

However, all the weather forecasts were predicting heavy cloud cover for Castle Douglas and it was looking like there wasn't going to be the slightest hope of seeing it.

When I woke up this morning, the sun was streaming through the curtains and I got all excited - the weather forecasts had got it wrong!

Except, that an hour later, thick cloud covered the skies.

I decided to head out into the garden with my camera on a tripod, just in case, with the ND filters attached to the lens. And as I looked up, suddenly I saw it through a patch of thinning cloud.

I took a quick photo, but it was way too dark. With all the cloud cover, there now wasn't enough light hitting the sensor. I had to increase the ISO, open the aperture wide and although I got an image, it wasn't inspiring.

I realised I needed the eclipse to be next to something - to give it some kind of context, so I moved the camera and tripod back towards the house until the chimneys were in the picture. I took a bit more time to play with the settings and as the clouds moved across the scene - sometimes blocking it completely, but sometimes allowing it to show through - I felt I was on to something



But then I noticed a couple of crows periodically flying onto the chimneys and spent the next 10 minutes frantically clicking, while they mostly moved behind the stacks and flew off moments before I took the shot.

However, in among the 107 photos I took this morning, there are a couple I am really pleased with.








Which is just as well, because apparenly I'll be 124 years old before I'll get another chance to try again in Scotland...

16 comments:

hope said...

Even at 90% it was better than our 0%...plus it rained all day here!

You did a wonderful job and I love the 3rd shot! Nice work, friend.

Joan Lennon said...

Fabulous photos! We had bright sunshine the whole time and I watched it from the flat bit of our roof with eclipse goggle things - absolutely mesmeric!

Kim Ayres said...

Hope - I think you got one a year or 2 back that we missed here. I'm hoping one day I'll be in a place to experience a total eclipse :)

Joan - I couldn't find any goggles for love nor money, so the fact that it was cloudy enough, was ideal :)

nmj said...

Loved your eclipse photos, Kim, and your creativity in nabbing them in not exactly ideal conditions! I had a colander, and saw wee crescent suns in my flat, until cloud came over at 9.20, but still saw a lot more than friends/family in other parts of UK. I would say I had a good eclipse, such a beautiful event to experience, even imperfectly.

Kim Ayres said...

NMJ - thanks Nasim :)

Glad you got the chance to experience it - it seems to have been pretty hit or miss who had the cloud cover. People I know in the next town along didn't see anything.

Lovely to hear from you - it reminds me I still owe you a photo shoot from when you sent me a copy of your book :)

Guyana-Gyal said...

No-one, absolutely NO-ONE has eclipse shots like this, I bet!

That last one, magic!

Hindsfeet said...

Kim!! Thank you so much for this....I REALLY wanted to see this, and obviously couldn't from my neck of the woods......God this is fabulous!! Especially that last shot.....That is an award winner m'friend.....with the crows....my God that's fabulous......

just Wow....

Kim Ayres said...

Guyana-Gyal - there are some pretty amazing eclipse shots out there, but it's lovely to get this kind of response to mine :)

Liz - Delighted you like them so much :)

Guyana-Gyal said...

I've seen the amazing ones. There will always be amazing shots of eclipses. But it's dem crows...dem crows add something else...

Kim Ayres said...

Guyana-Gyal - I was extraordinarily lucky :)

nmj said...

Hey, Kim, I may very well take you up on the photo shoot if and when I need a new author's photo. My current one is cheating as is from 2007! I think most writers pretend they are younger than they are though! ;-)

Kim Ayres said...

Nasim - a few years ago I did a stint of photographing authors & poets at a local venue that held events once a month. They were invited from around the country and I was there to help the venue build up a "hall of fame."

A few weeks before, they would send their own photos over so the venue could create posters to advertise the events. But almost without fail, they would send a photo of them selves from about 20 years ago. Consequently, whenever they arrived, people would compare them to the poster and think how old they looked.

I've sometimes said to authors I've photographed for publicity shots that they should let me make them look 10 years older. Then whenever they turned up anywhere, everyone would think how young they were looking :)

No one's ever taken me up on it though...

Anna van Schurman said...

About the crows, on our honeymoon, we were in Alaska on a boat going to a calving (calfing?) ground when we happened upon a baby whale splashing about in the water. The boat stopped so we could watch and take pictures. I captured eleven pictures of baby whale splash before I just figured I should enjoy it. (Though I am not a professional photographer.) It's really maddening how nature doesn't cooperate. ;)

Kim Ayres said...

Anna - there have been way too many times when I've missed the experience of something because I've been too busy trying to get a photo of it.

Sometimes I remember this lesson.

Sometimes I don't...

Pat said...

Superb result. I'm not nagging but you did protect your eyes didn't you?
Glancing at the top one I thought it was you with a pint.

Kim Ayres said...

I was careful, Pat, although with the heavy cloud cover there wasn't the need for full-on eclipse glasses - I wouldn't have seen a thing with them on :)