Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Making the best of it; The Eclipse

The general rule of thumb is that if you moved to Oregon from somewhere else, and don't like gray skies and rain, you probably picked the wrong place to live and may want to reconsider your choice rather than complain each and every one of our 300 days of such weather.

Such is genreally the case for Oregonians; the news of the eclipse was overshadowed by the news that it was going to be overcast. This is something that we are used to hearing, at least those of us who have lived her for more than a year. But like a true Oregonian, I did not let it stop me from trying to capture the rare moment.

We didn't have the clearest view, but my wife and I headed out with the hopes of capturing something, anything, even if it was a landscape shot.

I set up two cameras. The first is a Nikon D200 using a Tamron 18-50mm to capture a landscape shot with the eclipse in it. The other camera is a Nikon D40 using a Sigma 70-300mm and a Hoya Infrared Filter for close ups of the sun as it cast light through the mostly thin layer of clouds.

For the D40, I composed the shot and had my wife press the shutter once every minute or two. 

The above images are the results from the D40. Not too shabby for shooting an overcast eclipse. What really made this work was the fact that we could only see a ball of white behind the clouds and could never, with the naked eyes, see an eclipse happening. By using the Infrared filter I was able to bring out the details of the eclipse.

For the D200, I composed and set auto-bracketing to nine exposures with the intent of capturing some HDRs. I shot a 9 expsoure series about every three minutes or so.

The above HDR images allows for similar eclipse detail to be shown. But I wanted the eclipse to be an element of the image, rather than the subject of the image. I wanted something a little different than the standard eclipse shots that everyone else was posing, much like the ones posted above and am happy with what I got for alternatives.

I have never photographed an eclipse before. This was only my second regional eclipse in my lifetime. I didn't know what to expect with the cloud cover. But I went out and tried. 

The real purpose of this post is to encourage you to not let little things like weather, traffic, or any other of the millions of excuses made each and every day, stop you from at least trying something. In the end, you might get something different and possibly even more unique than if the environment was perfect. In other words, quit making excuses and get out and shoot. 

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