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Posted May 23rd, 2012

A Bite Out of the Sun

Here is my best effort at photographing the May 20th solar eclipse. It was only a partial eclipse at Yukon latitudes with a magnitude of 0.64 at my location and I took this image 35 minutes after the maximum. Throughout the event, thin cloud softened the outline of the sun’s crescent but had the benefit of reducing the intensity and contrast levels. As it unfolded, patches of darker cloud gathered and that provided appealing texture to what otherwise were aesthetically bland photographs. I began shooting with an 8x neutral density filter stacked with a 1000x B+W but that attenuation soon became excessive and the B+W ND 3.0 alone was way more than enough in the end. Composing on the LCD in live view kept my eyes safe. The dynamic range of the sun and sky that is framed within this image was moderate enough to be well covered within a single RAW file from my K-5 but I blended two exposures in Photoshop, not so much for more optimal exposure but in order to attain sharp focus on both the tree and the important area of the sky.
Pentax K-5, SMC Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED [IF] SDM @ 250mm, B+W ND 3.0 filter, 1/45 and 1/3 sec @ f/11, ISO 80