My May 2012 Photo of the Month is Solar Eclipse Sunset, a photo made during the May 20 Annual Eclipse across North America and the United States.
Solar Eclipse Sunset Background
This was a completely improvised image. Like many people, I waited until the last minute to order a solar filter. No surprise that they were sold out. I used a combination of an old, long lens, a couple filters, and my old camera body that I was willing to risk damage.
This is not how to make the image, but I managed. Heading into East County, I had an obstruction-free view of the partial annular eclipse. While this isn’t sharp and the sun is obviously blown out, I was okay with that. After all, the sun’s direct light exceeds the human eye’s capacity to resolve. And it is incredibly dangerous to view directly anyway.
I shot this by aiming the camera body towards the sun without looking directly. I waited for the TTL to light up (with the sun filling it up) to know I was on target. Lousy technique, and not recommended, but I improvised.
Alas, as the annular eclipse was continuing, an unforeseen moment happened. The sun actually set on one of the ridges in front of me, creating something unique.
Is this an award-winner of an image? Absolutely not. That doesn’t mean I failed to enjoy the moment. Indeed, I enjoyed it immensely.
Now, on to August 2017, when we get a full treat of a total solar eclipse across the entire United States.
As always, thank you very much for reading, and I hope you like the image.
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.