The first day started in Perthshire and finished on the far north coast of Scotland – almost as far north as one can be – at St John’s Point, Caithness, looking north to Stroma and Orkney (disappearing as the distance haze turned to haar) and west to the setting sun.
I was up early on the morning of March 20th to get to Stonehaven on the coast in time for the solar eclipse.
It’s funny how there was so much discussion as to what filters one should use when shooting the sun: on the one hand, a direct view of the sun’s disc requires special Baader solar filter (approx 23 stops’ filtration); however, when I arrived to see the extent of the clouds, only conventional photographic filters were needed (a mixture of ND1000 and circular polarizer 2-stop filters). And I think the results were all the more dramatic for it, too.
The first of these photos was made using a Centon 500mm mirror lens over 20 years old – from when I bought my first film SLR (a Canon EOS500n – that dates it) It even shows sunspot N 2303 pretty clearly.
The others are with the Sony 55-210mm lens at full stretch instead.
Each image is an HDR of 3 source frames bracketed +/-1EV, converted in photivo, blended in enfuse and worked in darktable.
Helios 58mm f/2 lens wide open but with a pinhole drilled in the lens-cap, giving an effective aperture of about f/30 (almost two stops narrower than the lens’s own aperture scale). This was just slow enough to allow a reasonable hand-held exposure of the sun behind iridescent clouds, although it still took a lot of care to retrieve detail in the highlights.
It’s been a bit warm the past couple of weeks; with temperatures over 23C indoors in the study and the sun beating down pretty fiercely, we’ve reduced Dog’s walks especially at lunchtime. This is where having a bit of woodland nearby proves its worth – the gentle breeze, sounds of leaves rustling and several degrees cooler makes it quite a relief.