Solar eclipse October 23, 2014

Here's what it looked like from Tecumseh Road.

Here’s what it looked like from Tecumseh Road.

Solar eclipses are rare enough events on planet earth. Rarer still is being in the right location to actually see something – and even then you have to have the luck to not have the whole thing hidden behind cloud. I remember being in high school when we were given severe warnings for several days about not looking up at the sun during a lunchtime partial eclipse. When the celestial event finally happened, there was no chance of anyone burning out their eyeballs since it was hopelessly overcast.

Still, just the other day, October 23, 2014, we were promised a glimpse of a solar eclipse right here in southwestern Ontario, provided the weather cooperated. I realized that since it was occurring just before sunset I might have a chance of spotting it right from out front of the store, and maybe even getting a photograph.

Sure enough, the sun was blazing in a clear sky, although there were some clouds near the horizon. So I quickly set up an impromptu rig that might just do the job. The sun might be big, but since it’s nearly 150,000 kilometers away, I put my 2x converter (seldom used) on my 300mm F4. Then on the front went an ND100 filter that was handy, and I added a polarizer to drop down another couple of stops.

I balanced the whole rig on a monopod and aimed at the sun using live view. Hmmm, live view to the rescue – hardly ever use that on my DSLR, but I didn’t want to look directly into the camera. Even with all the filtration, I had the ISO dropped down to -1, so ISO100, and then shot at 1/8000th of a second at F22.

Knowing that with the sun up well above the horizon, there was no chance of neatly composing it against a cool terrestrial backdrop. This was more astro photography than landscape photography. Still, the photo definitely rewarded my meagre efforts, and limited time to get the shot.

What astonished me was the sunspots and the massive solar storm that clearly came through even as the moon took its bite out of the right size of the solar disc.

Hopes to take a few more shots faded as the moon made its progress to nearly 1/3 coverage because the sun descended into that growing cloud bank.

Now we can look ahead to August 18, 2017 when a total eclipse will be visible from Tennessee and other American states, and Southern Ontario will get a good partial view. Just hope for clear weather!


~ by windsorphotooutfitters on November 15, 2014.

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