Thursday, August 24, 2017

Kidney Bean Eclipse

I debated posting these photos. I had no intention of trying to photograph Monday's eclipse, so was totally unprepared. I'm in S. CA, which is nowhere near the "zone of totality". Heck, I don't even own any of those funny looking eclipse glasses! But watching the news and live broadcasts from various "zone" locations, I really got caught up in all the excitement.

Going outside, I noticed the light looked "different". Not really darker, but somehow different. I couldn't resist grabbing my camera. I have a 10x neutral density filter that fits my wide angle lens. A 10x ND filter is just a really dark piece of glass and I figured it would protect my camera's sensor from burnout (I've since read the ND filters are NOT dark enough and not recommended for photographing the eclipse. Camera still seems to be working fine, so guess I dodged a bullet!!). Anyway, I put the focus setting on manual, focused to infinity, set the ISO on 100, and just held the camera in front of my face to avoid looking directly at the sun and started clicking.

These are heavily cropped. Kind of underwhelming shots, but it allowed me to see what was going on with the eclipse without looking directly at the sun.

May be one explanation for the different-looking light were the strange shadows. In certain areas, the shadows seemed to be shaped like little eclipses. The shot above shows these funny looking shadows on the cement on my backyard patio. Did anyone else notice eclipse shadows?

The thought struck me to see if the ND filter would fit my telephoto lens. I was almost positive it would not fit, which turned out to be the case. So I used some blue painter's tape to tape the ND filter to the front of my 100-400mm tele zoom lense. An act of desperation to be sure! Then I used the same approach (manual focus set to infinity, aim the camera towards the sun without looking in the viewfinder, and start clicking away!).
400mm, ISO 100, F5.6, 1/500 sec, 10:40 AM
The resulting photos were... strange. I ended up with a nice, sharp image of the solar eclipse. But for some reason, the thin, tapering edges of the eclipse are blurred, and I ended up with a photo that looks like a kidney bean! I have no idea why.

I'm really looking forward to Skywatch Friday posts this week. It will be fun to compare what people were able to capture! And very curious to see if anyone else ended up with kidney beans!!

Click on Skywatch Friday to check out great skies from around the world!
Thanks for stopping by!!

41 comments:

  1. Not an act of desperation & more pretty ingenious idea! Those eclipse shadows are amazing as is the kidney bean eclipse - you might have coined a new phrase for this phenomenon!

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  2. I didn't buy a solar filter, so I wasn't going to risk damaging my sensor. Instead, I used a 'disposable' sensor - 400ASA monochrome film :-) I used a 300mm telephoto with a 10X and 4X ND stacked. It was a tricky process. Remove the filters, use eclipse glasses to get the sun in the middle of the viewfinder, put the filters on, take a few exposures at different shutter speeds. Wait a few minutes for the clouds to pass, lather, rinse, repeat. The film should go in the mail today, but I do not have high hopes.

    I wonder if the little eclipses are reflections from the ND filter. Regardless, they are some cool shots!

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  3. I saw the crescent shapes everywhere on the ground during the partial eclipse (80%) in my neck of the woods. Also, took a risk harming my camera (with no proper lenses) taking a shot of the sun that was extra bright. The camera didn't pick up the moon shadow. Luckily, someone lent me their special glasses so I could see how awesome it was! :))

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  4. I thoroughly enjoyed your eclipse photos, especially given the fact that you were about as far away from totality as we were. Good hacks, though, to get what you did. But as an old desert rat myself (from the Owens River Valley somewhat north of you), I was captivated by your rambles through the desert around JTNP. We plan to camp there in our fake Shasta airflyte next time we're out to the real west, so I really enjoyed your Milky Way and other shots. Thanks for making me wish once again that I weren't in exile in north Texas!

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    1. Thanks so much for your comments! Much appreciated, and let me know if you need any ideas on what to see or do when you set up your visit to Joshua Tree.

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  5. I didn't get any kidney beans but did get the little eclipses shadows when I used my dad's old Petri in the early 90s or late 80s (I can only guess from where I lived at the time and the fact that I was still developing film). I just happened to be walking around with a camera and didn't plan much better for it this time. I remember how cool those shadows looked yet didn't even think to look down this time. Your shadow shot is way cool. I suppose experience told you to open it up to 5.6 at 1/500. I think that kidney bean photo is fairly awesome too. Canon suggested the PRO ND100000 filter for photographic use only and since it was around $140 and I can no longer snap shots using my lcd, pfffttt. I think my photos should serve to make everyone feel better about theirs, lol.

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  6. We had about 90 percent. I didn't care that much about it, but when I went into the backyard about 10 minutes before the maximum, I was amazed at the beauty of the light--- and it only got better. Darker like heavy clouds, but still having highlights and contrast. Colors were intensified. No, I didn't take the camera outside. I knew there was no way I was going to get the beauty of what was there--- and I decided I'd rather just experience it. It was something! And it was a lot more than just the sun being blotted. I think you did well, by the way.

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    1. Sounds like a great experience, Bill! I think you were very smart to just leave the camera inside and enjoy the moment!

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  7. at least you got kidney beans, i got nothing but clouds.

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  8. Fun - I love the shadows it casts. We drove up to Wyoming for the eclipse, prepared with glasses and a special filter for the camera.

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  9. I grew up in New York City (which had about 70% totality) and two of my friends posted those "smile" reflections. I (visiting Columbia, SC, total eclipse) kept looking for them on the sidewalk and didn't see. But, in publishing one of my photos, I have those reflections in one corner of my picture. How I captured them, I have no idea whatsoever. So...It was so easy to get caught up in that moment; I am happy you had a good time and didn't burn out your camera.

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  10. Clever fix for the filter work-around for the eclipse shots.

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  11. What you are seeing are the result of the sun shining through tiny openings in the trees and bushes. These tiny apertures set up "pin while camera" images. I saw this effect in Boulder Colorado in the mid 90s. I was hoping to see this effect here in Massachussets, but we had a lot of moisture in the atmosphere. This moisture conenced into thin clouds as the temperature dropped. This ruined my chance to see this effect. I am so happy you got to see it.

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    1. Thanks, Steve. Your explanation helps a lot. I couldn't figure out why, in some areas, you see the little eclipse shadows, but not in other area. Pin hole camera... how cool is that!!?

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  12. At least you got to see it, couldnt' see anything from here.

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  13. It does look like a kidney bean! I wonder if it has something to do with the lens composition?

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  14. Wonderful shots! We had a partial eclipse here a few years ago and the light really was an amazing sombre colour.

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  15. Good try that. When we had a eclipse a number of years ago I was at work so used some welding glass to watch through. It was odd the birds all went quiet for a time

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  16. Well, I´m in Sweden so the eclipse was VERY far away. Your images does look peculiar and I love how the shadows turned out.

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  17. Hello, wonderful captures of the eclipse. I love the shadow shots. We had cloudy skies and missed the eclipse, I am glad you got to see part of it. Happy Friday, enjoy your day and weekend!

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  18. I've seen so many great shots on flickr. Like you, here in Florida, I didn't even step outside, though I tuned into the local station...and tried to block out the yak yak :)

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  19. Beautiful eclipse photos ~ What an event ~ ^_^

    (A SHUTTERBUG EXPLORES)

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  20. Thank You for showing the eclipse shadows that I was eager to see! Up here in Marin it was foggy of course, but I caught some shots among the broken clouds before it ended: http://comfortspiral.blogspot.com/2017/08/eclipse-trophies.html

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  21. Nice to see your creativity was at work trying to come up with some eclipse photos. You did fine with what you had. If anything you got the experience in trying. Unfortunately for me, I had cloud cover and saw nothing. don't even know how much I would have seen anyway. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful week.

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  22. Wow! Great photos of the different stages of the eclipse! Over here, nothing spectacular!

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  23. In Belgium was nothing to see, only the usual grey clouds !

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  24. Sometimes I think you just have to try a shot - and it's not really important if it 'works' or not.

    Nice post.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  25. We were completely socked in here. Bummer. You really caught those mini shadows!

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  26. What brilliant on the spot decisions and it all worked out really well , I think Full time Sllie got the same moon type shadows.
    All the best, Gordon.

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  27. Wow, you certainly captured more than I did (the skies were overcast here that day)I love the kidney bean shape.

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  28. I loved those little moons too!! Someone in the park where we watched explained it to us -- there were people there with so much expensive equipment and filters and etc etc .... I almost didn't take any pictures at all, but wanted something to remember the incredible event (when I get so old that I can't get out of my rocking chair, I'm going to re-read my old blog posts and remember all the good stuff! ;>)

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  29. Really nice photos Pete! I didn't notice anything at all, because all we could from my house was clouds.
    I wouldn't even know how to take these photos.

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  30. Photos look great and as long as you're happy, life is good.

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