Annular Solar Eclipse
Today, many people around the world, but especially in the western United States got to witness what is known as an annular solar eclipse. In this type of eclipse the moon passes between the sun and the earth, but because the moon is at its farthest distance from earth it will not entirely cover the sun. At is maximum, the moon will cover almost the entire area of the sun, leaving a thin ring of light, or ring of fire. In Southern California, we are not in the path for the full eclipse, but the moon will cover almost eighty five percent of the suns light.
To get above any haze or clouds, I decided to drive up into the Angeles National Forest to the Chilao Picnic area and with great surprise the area was completely empty.
This is the first time I have tried to photograph a solar eclipse so I took to the internet to find get more information. The constant theme in all the articles and posts are to be extremely careful when looking directly at the sun. This is true any time you might incorporate the sun into a photograph, but it especially true for any type of eclipse. To photograph the sun directly while still fairly high in the sky, I attached my Singh-Ray Vari D Neutral Density filter to my 400mm lens and turned up to its maximum of holding back about eight stops of light. I also set the aperture to f/32 and only looked in the view finder when I had the depth of field preview ON. Even with all that, it was still quite bright and I only peeked at the view finder for a moment before pressing the shutter button.
I was in a small valley of pine trees that I thought might provide some interesting compositional elements. For the photo at the top of the post I used the very top of a pine tree that was catching some glow from the eclipsed sun.
I moved around to many locations searching for other pine tree branches. Because of the aperture and the neutral density filter, everything but the sun when to black, so silhouettes were pretty much the only creative choice.
I did try to open up the apeture a bit for the photo above to see if any detail of the pine trees was possible. A little came through, but so did some lens flare.
As the eclipse reached is maximum, I thought I would just capture the sun and the moon. Except for the fairly sharp delineation between the sun and the moon, I sometimes think this could be an overexposed photo of a crescent moon.