Solar Eclipse, 2017

View the entire series, Solar Eclipse. Want to learn how to photograph a solar eclipse? Here is a good article from

Background on this solar eclipse

When I started this timelapse process, I didn’t realize how and fast the sun moved between 1 pm and 3 pm. I think I moved my tripod about four or five times over the 2.5-hours to get the sun to stay in the frame. My maximum zoom set to 200mm, so I wasn’t able to zoom into the eclipse as my shots ended up appearing in their finished state. This wider than desired view actually was a pretty good benefit for this timelapse process.

Yesterday, August 21st of 2017 marked the first day in 38 years (according to Popular Mechanics) North America witnessed the solar eclipse take shape. Of course, I had to do what I had to do to get this on camera. Luckily I was scheduled to stay late at work this day to record a board meeting so I could take the afternoon off. So, from approximately 1:15 pm to 2:45 I recorded this moment in history using still frames shot every 10 seconds with the Sony 70-200 f/2.8 lens (with B+W 110 ND 3,0  – BL 1000x E filter attached). My camera is currently the Sony A7Rii for the sole reason I can digitally crop in so much to recover details. If I’d been using my Canon 5D Mark III (22mp) I wouldn’t have gotten this high 42mp resolution.

This is what 200mm looks like on a full-frame sensor. Not close at all. This actually was an advantage when it came to getting the sun in-frame as I was constantly walking on/off camera.

In Adobe Lightroom, the only settings I changed between the first 300 or so frames was the exposure. I ended up shooting at about 4 stops too dark, which was unfortunate and now something I’ll have to work with. My takeaway from this experiment is to next time, 7 years from now in 2024, make it better with more detail!

Making a virtual copy for 4 or 5 frames (each time I repositioned tripod) was necessary every time because of lens distortion from the edge of lens. If I didn’t do this the frames would appear to jump throughout the sequence.

Virtual Copy
Solar Eclipse 424
Solar Eclipse 424

This is one of my favorite moments in the series. I’m surprised that I enjoy the noise quality, but I do. So far I’ve only changed my exposure and crop so I’m always focused on sun position. This was +3.75 exposure. This is an example of the counter above, which was more underexposed.

Solar Eclipse 456
Solar Eclipse 456
Solar Eclipse 720
Solar Eclipse 720

And… the clouds took over, making for a fitting end.


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