2012 Annular Solar Eclipse
Photography & Movie

Texas/New Mexico Border near Bledsoe TX (20 May 2012)

by Roger Edwards

One day after observing storms in western OK, Rich Thompson and I went on an "eclipse chase". We targeted a central area of the path W of Lubbock with which I was familiar from previous trips: open High Plains, free of clutter from wires, trees, buildings, and other near-ground obstructions. Best of all, it would be a rare annular eclipse timed just before sunset, such that we could see full annularity followed by a setting crescent sun. Cloud cover was the only potential complication. Some low clouds from a remnant front hung over the area much of the day, but their west edge eroded just enough in late afternoon to open the sky to this glorious spectacle.

Composite View around Annularity (100-s intervals)


Shark's Fin Sunset

Pre-annular Crescent

Post-annular Crescent on the Horizon

"Necklace Beads" due to Lunar Surface Roughness

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Direction of view is WNW. Image interval is 10 seconds (11:40 elapsed). One image (number 24 in the set of 76) jumped too much and was left out of the loop. Despite its being weighted down, the tripod shook in the wind just enough that there was a tiny little bit of "jumping" between a few of the other images.

PHOTOGRAPHIC NOTES: All images were shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark-2 body, using 100-300 mm f4:5.6 zoom glass clasped onto a 2x extender. I used variable but high f-stop (f15-f22) with on-the-fly manual adjustments of both f-stop and aperture. I wanted to capture the relative darkening of the sun during annularity, but still open things up some so that the lighting difference between annularity and adjacent stages wasn't too extreme. The component photos of the composite were shot every 10 seconds with a cable-release timer (automatic timing but all-manual settings).

Having photographed numerous sunsets but no sunset eclipses yet, this was a new experience, with a good deal of educated guesswork and trial-and-error. At first I was perturbed about the lens-reflection artifacts; but they were unavoidable without heavy Photoshop editing that I don't have the time or desire to do. So...you're seeing 'em as I shot 'em, with minimal processing to remove dust specks and (with the composite) align the ground.

LEGAL NOTE: All photos © 2012 Roger Edwards, All Rights Reserved. Reproduction without authorization in any medium whatsoever will be strictly enforced by photographer's licensing agent, Insojourn Design and Images, as a violation of Federal copyright law pursuant to 17 USC Section 504b-504c and 17 USC Section 505.

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