☀+☽ = 👍 ?

Last year, someone gifted me a solar lens filter, with the challenge of photographing the upcoming total eclipse on August 21, 2017.

I take challenges seriously.  Believe me, I do.

Heck, it took me two years of planning to capture the “blood moon eclipse” two years ago – everything from scouting possible shooting locations to scouring weather reports.

And after all the planning and scouting and testing and re-testing …

I got the photos.

Besides, if I don’t get the total eclipse now …

I’ll have to wait another seven years for a total eclipse to pass through the United States.

So here’s my plan.  I’ve got my gear ready – my Nikon Df camera has performed well for long exposures and time-lapse shots.  I’ll pair it with my Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens – which is the only ultra-wide lens in my arsenal that matches the dimensions of the screw-on solar filter lens.

To capture the time-lapse, I’ll use a Vello programmable intervalometer shutter release, and schedule each shot to fire every minute, from the start of the eclipse until it ends.

During totality, though, I’ll remove the solar filter, adjust the exposure time, and try to capture the brilliant eclipse with its sparkling corona.  I’ll have only two minutes to make this capture.

Then the solar filter goes back on the lens, and it’s back to minute-separated shot intervals until the sun is clear of the moon’s blockage.  Yeah.  I got this.

Of course, there are other variables in play.  For me to photograph the eclipse in Albany, I’d only get an eclipse of 75% coverage.  I mean, that’s nice in and of itself …

But to get full totality, I need to be in the 20-mile-wide path of the eclipse’s shadow.  The closest location for that for me is North Carolina.  Maybe South Carolina as a backup plan.

Again, I’ve made travel plans for both states, and I’m scrupulously scouring the weather reports.  Anything stronger than light clouds and I’m not going to shoot there.  And if there’s an overcast day or a rainstorm … no.  I just can’t take that chance.  If I can’t get the total eclipse due to weather conditions, I’ll reluctantly settle for the partial eclipse in New York.

Be that as it may … I’ll operate as if I’m going to get this picture.

I have to.  Who knows if I’ll live to see another eclipse in my lifetime?

Oh yeah, and I have to order some solar shades.  With the exception of the eclipse’s full totality, you can’t look directly at the eclipse.  Doing so will damage your eyes.  And sunglasses are not strong enough to protect your vision.  Only proper solar shades will protect your eyes.

This is going to be fun.  If I can pull this off …

What can I say?  I appreciate challenges.

So just bear with me on August 21, 2017, if I seem a bit distracted or don’t respond back as quickly as one might expect.

I’m concentrating on achieving a photographic challenge.

Make this happen.