I have fond memories from childhood of reading and re-reading a delightful little children’s book called Someone is Eating the Sun, which in it’s own humorous way described the scientific marvel of a solar eclipse. Now as of this morning, some 15 years later, I can officially say that I have experienced a real solar eclipse! Too bad the real thing isn’t at all as fantastic as the children’s books.
The eclipse that occurred this morning was not a Total Eclipse, but an Annular Eclipse which is visible somewhere in the world every year or so. This year, the maximum viewing point happened to be dead center over the Pacific Ocean so the eclipse was only partially visible in places like East Asia and the Western United States. The sky didn’t grow dark and the blockage of sunlight was hardly visible over the landscape, but still, it was great fun to experience and take pictures of even though it was impossible to actually see the eclipse due to the bright, mid-morning sun.
Though the sky was as sky-blue as ever and the eclipse not even visible to the naked eye (which you definitely don’t want to look at directly anyway!), it wasn’t that difficult to take this series of images. Basically, I just set my camera to M mode and changed the settings to let in as little light as possible. Most digital SLR/lens combinations would read something like 1/8000sec. at f/22, ISO 100. Then I used a telephoto lens, 200mm, zoomed in all the way, and pointed it toward the sky. Always use eye protection, and even then, NEVER look directly at the sun. You will have no problem knowing when the sun is in the frame and there’s no need to do anything but release the shutter because no fine composition is necessary. I wonder what the next eclipse will look like . . .