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2 Minutes is all it takes!

It all started 9 months ago when the Oregon state parks opened their reservations for eclipse day, August 21, 2017. I was online at midnight and able, by the luck of the devil, to get a campsite reservation at Cove Palisades State Park. After that the summer Oregon trip was born and even with the unexpected recent events we found ourselves at Cove Palisades for the big event.

Our campsite was #C33 amongst a mishmash of campers and surprisingly quiet given the nature of the gathering. We moved the table into position making sure we had a clear view of the suns path from 9 am to 11’ish. I had our $2 eclipse glasses, our binoculars with its own eclipse shades on it, my trusty Canon camera with the same 300mm lens I used in South Africa to photograph elephants, my iPhone and we were set to go.

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Our viewing station at the campsite.

On reading up on photographing eclipses a common theme to novices is, don’t do it. Just enjoy the show nature has laid on. Nah, I was not going to chicken out that easily and my partner in crime, George, helped procure some solar filters for the camera and we both took test shots of the sun. Something came out so I proceeded to come up with a plan.

I used ISO 400, F8 and ranged my shutter speed from 1/500 to 1/30 depending on the shot. I would have to reposition the camera each time and try to get the sun in the center of the frame and then take 4 or 5 bracketed shots, meaning I would shoot 1/500, 1/250. 1/125 & 1/60 eyeballing the result each time. If things screwed up I would not worry but I think I had my range of choices drilled into my head.

What you see below is a sampling of what came out. I now think of my artist neighbor David in that there is no right or wrong simply an image to wonder at. In retrospect I really had fun and am glad I have this sampling to share with you.

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First Contact was at 1 pm on the suns dial and the smudge on the left is caused by tree branches in my line of sight.
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If you over expose you get a lot of red.
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Moving on.
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This one is under exposed. I say under and over simply to indicate less or more light onto the camera sensor.
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This one is the same as the previous but having a longer exposure.
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Again more red.
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Same shot but less red.
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Even darker still.

So the partials started at about 9:06 and went to 10:19. At about 10:10 our surrounding started to get eerie. Besides the view we were looking at, it now started to resemble dusk. You could almost look at the sun, or whats left of it, with the naked eye. Around us it simply started to get dark. Just before totality I removed the solar filter from the camera and started bracketing up and down the scale, eyeballing the results but not calculating anything. One eye on the camera and one on the two minute marvel in the sky.

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First “naked” shot.
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A little more underexposed.
Now we are in totality, no glasses and like 2 minutes of weightlessness.
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Less light.
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More ….
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And more.
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The two minutes are up and the sun starts to emerge at the 1pm position.

Time to put the solar filter back on and now this is what you get:

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With the filter the sun starts to emerge.
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We’re on the backside and coming back to life.
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Recovery.
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People start to loose interest as the main event is all over.
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We will survive till 2024, the next USA total solar eclipse!

While we were sitting at our picnic table fixated on the show, I had setup my new Olympus TG-5 on a tripod facing us. He was programmed to take a picture every 8 seconds and then stitch them together for a short movie but here are some frame grabs for now:

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Taken just before totality.
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This one was taken 8 seconds later than the previous one to show how quickly it got dark.
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Back out of the warp.

Wow, what an experience. I knew it was going to be short but after the two minutes I felt shell shocked and “Is it over already?”

Anyone up for 2024?

8 thoughts on “2 Minutes is all it takes!”

  1. Wow Andre I can’t imagine you not being a professional photographer with these great results thank you so much for sharing them we are really enjoying them love to you and Rose Richard and Candace

    1. Suzanne, I really appreciate those comments. One of these days we need to cross paths on the road somewhere.

      On the photos, I think the trick was not to take THE photo but rather have fun and take a batch and see what turns out.

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