My Pictures of the Great American Eclipse, August 21, 2017

Slightly different post today, it’s mostly all media. But to gain traffic on google, maybe I should just write eclipse, eclipse, eclipse a bunch of times. Plus pictures. Eclipse pictures. Awesome pictures. Eclipse. Okay enough of that.

So: I am not a photographer. I hardly consider myself an amateur photographer. I mainly consider myself a guy with a camera who is trying to learn how to preserve the cool stuff that he sees.

I was excited for this eclipse. Being who I am, I nearly broke the bank renting an extra lens and camera, buying solar filters for my lenses, buying a plane ticket to Atlanta to spend the weekend with my brother to drive up to the totality, Ubering to the airport, missing my original flight to Atlanta, Ubering back home, Ubering again the the airport, spending a great day in Atlanta, driving 3 1/2 hours from Atlanta with the intrepid Aaron Jones to the Southern Smoky Mountains at Albert Mountain, finding that our originally planned destination at the top of the mountain was “crowded shoulder-to-shoulder with college kids talking politics,” finding a clearing in the trees a little further down the mountain, capturing my event just in time, getting caught in 7 1/2 hours of traffic coming back from the eclipse, missing another return flight to DC, and finally getting back home this morning of August 22nd.

But I’d say it was worth it. We had some somewhat disappointing cloud-cover (they don’t call them the “smoky” mountains for nothing, I guess), but it also gave some fairly neat effects. I’m definitely in for the next one in 2024. For those who care, I rented a Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera with an Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 L IS lens to get the eclipse. I was primarily using a neutral density solar filter I got online from B&H photo and video, it was film, and not glass, so it came with a slight defect on the side, but it seemed to work okay with some tests. I also had my Canon EOS t5i Rebel with my Canon 16-35mm F 2.8 L II USM. I used a different filter on that one, another neutral density filter that was glass and not a film. I use an Induro 8M Tripod, which is excellent because it is so sturdy. Attached to that was the Induro 483-101 PHT1 3-Way PanHead.

I have not done anything in post to these photos, because (1.) I don’t have that kind of time, and (2.) I don’t have that skill-set even if I did have the time. Any recommendations in the comments, or tips for next time are welcome (but be nice).

So: here is the picture of my frustration during the eclipse:

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And, at the request of my eclipse watching neighbors in the “Secret Field” of Mt. Albert in North Carolina, I give you my captures (or at least most of the good ones):

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The pictures (the good ones anyway) basically stop after this one, because in my rush to get the solar filter off during the totality, I threw it on the ground, and it got smudged with something, causing blur when I tried to put it back on. But here’s Venus during the eclipse, along with the awesome “secret field” of Mt. Albert and some of our neighbors. Shout out to the most chill cigar-smoking neighbor from Pennsylvania we could ask for, and a man with absolutely impressive dredlocks from Ashville under that orange tent.

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As for my personal recommendations on the camera stuff, I must say I hardly know enough to complain. As a below-amateur, I’d say I had trouble with the zoom of the long lens. Also, the rubber on the connector plate with the heavy lens made for some unwanted wiggle. It was also hard to achieve a good focus with the clouds, but honestly, with what I was working with, the 5D worked great. I wish I had just planned my shots better and knew what I was doing.

I’m sure there are better things out there, but I hope you enjoy these!

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