The Great American Eclipse swept over the United States on Aug 21, 2017. Millions have seen the magnificent corona.
My wife and I and 40 of our closest eclipse loving friends have returned from the Grand Tetons region where we had an amazing eclipse camp. We watched and photographed the eclipse from Swan Valley Idaho where the conditions were pretty good. No clouds, just a hint of some haziness, but not enough to have a significant effect on the photos.
This was my seventh total solar eclipse and again I was moved by it as if it was my first. And as far as photos goes, I made mistakes. Unfortunately for my eclipse-landscape sequence, my 16-24 mm lens stuck at 18 mm. I noticed after totality that I didn’t see the sun in the reviews after a shot was taken. Luckily, I could use a part of the sequence for still a very pleasing image.
This image is a result of a stack of images where all the images of the partial phase of the eclipse were taken with a solar filter on the lens. The result of each photo is a black image with a tiny crescent. Just prior to totality I took the filter off and shot a short series of landscape images from 0.6 to 5 seconds or something. Two images were used for the landscape, a shorter exposure for the sky and a longer exposure for the foreground. The result is reflecting the scene as you would have seen it if you were there.
The second image is a detailed corona image. As the corona has a very larg dynamic range which you can see with your eyes, but impossible to capture in a single image with a camera, recreating a true life representation of the corona is a hard task. It’s impossible really to recreate what you saw and felt. Your experience is so much more complex than just the visual display. One can’t describe it, or show it in an image. You’d have to experience it yourself to understand. However, there are techniques which can be used to get an image closer to reality than a single exposure.
This image is a composite of 24 different exposures from 1/2500th of a second to 1/6th of a second. They were all imported in Photoshop where I aligned them on the corona (don’t use the moon, you’ll smear the corona), after that I masked out all the overexposed parts of the corona leaving only the best part of each exposure. After that I performed a series of real unsharp mask techniques to enhance the structures in the corona. I’m very happy with this result and I think it’s the best composite corona photo I processed to date. Maybe I’ll reprocess the Libyan and Mongolian photos again with this updated process.