Great American Eclipse: Southern Illinois

August 31, 2017

For the Great American Eclipse in August, Jeff and I traveled down to Carbondale, Illinois, where I attended college, for a mini-college-reunion and to view the eclipse. We found a spot with some help from the Photographers' Ephemeris, a tool that helps plot the sun's path and angle, and Google Maps. We were on the northern part of Kincaid Lake, where we had a cookout while we waited for the eclipse. Here's a picture from my friend Laila of her husband, Dax, and myself. You can see my setup:  a heavy-duty tripod, a Nikon D810 and a 400mm 2.8 lens. I didn't have a solar filter on yet. I also had my other D810 with a 70-200 2.8 and a 2x converter. 

 

Using special glasses, we were able to watch the moon begin to cover the sun; it started very slowly, but gradually we noticed the light was getting dimmer. The temperature was getting cooler. 

 

Southern Illinois Eclipse The beginning of the eclipse looked like someone was taking a bite out of the sun. See those dots on the sun? Those are sunspots. Pretty cool!

It was getting darker and suddenly, everything around us was twilight. It was a 360-degree sunset. It was otherworldly.

Southern Illinois Eclipse

Totality. The pink bits are called Bailey's Beads.

Southern Illinois Eclipse

The final image is a composite of three images at slightly different settings to properly expose the sun's rays during totality. I toned and edited them in Photoshop CC.

I already can't wait for the next eclipse! I learned a lot about the science behind eclipses and how to photograph them. For starters, it the last few moments before totality, it goes FAST! I wish I would have taken a moment to photograph the little crescent shadows. Good thing there will be a next time!


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