2012 Annular Eclipse

For year, I’ve been making images in wonderful places like Yosemite, Mexico, the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains and even Hawaii. For this composite image I took one of my shortest trips yet; I walked through my patio door to the backyard.

For the May 20th annular eclipse, Albuquerque was prime real estate. With our relatively high elevation, clear skies and open spaces, people flocked from all over to see the eclipse right here in the American Southwest. The most difficult portion of the whole endeavor was figuring out what to use as a filter. The sheer number of people interested in seeing this event made actual solar filters pretty hard to come by for someone who waited until the last minute (yes, that’d be me).  I ended up with a jumble of glass taped on the end of my 70-200. I even threw caution to the wind and added a 1.4x tele-convertor. A normally firm advocate of not adding anything unnecessary to the light path, I felt a bit like I was running with scissors. The final combination, from the lens out:

  • 67mm circular polarizer
  • 67mm 2-stop ND
  • 67mm Cokin adapter plate
  • 77mm 3-stop ND
  • 77mm 10-stop ND
  • 77mm circular polarizer
  • 77mm circular polarizer

I’ve never had so much glass hanging off the front of my camera, ever. The resulting exposures were in a “normal” f/8, 200th, ISO 200 range and I was pleasantly surprised by the results. Earlier in the day, I snapped a shot of the un-eclipsed sun while checking my filter combination. It too, turned out far better that I’d hoped.

With the next solar eclipse, visible in the United States, not until August of 2017, I was thrilled to be able to experience the event from the comfort of our own yard. In between shots, I sipped ice tea, played with the kids and admired how the garden is coming along. Not a bad gig.


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