Blog

The Eclipse

I had been thinking and planning on shooting the Eclipse of 2017 for almost a year.  Plans changed a few times, but I ended up heading down to Tennessee in my Jeep Wrangler with Jim Lenon and Bryan Minear.  We got there three days early to scout and shoot in the Smoky Mountains. 

 One of my favorite stops was the Foothills pathway.  There are several overlooks and my favorite was one that is on the nothern part of the road.  We shot sunrise and did some astrophotography on this spot. 

One of my favorite stops was the Foothills pathway.  There are several overlooks and my favorite was one that is on the nothern part of the road.  We shot sunrise and did some astrophotography on this spot. 

 Clingman's Dome is the highest point in the Smokies and we got up early on the first morning to catch sunrise peaking over the clouds rolling off the mountain beside us.  This location is the place to get layers and layers that set the Smokies apart when it comes to mountain ranges in the US.

Clingman's Dome is the highest point in the Smokies and we got up early on the first morning to catch sunrise peaking over the clouds rolling off the mountain beside us.  This location is the place to get layers and layers that set the Smokies apart when it comes to mountain ranges in the US.

 The valley looking east over the Foothills Pathway was a great spot for astrophotography.  I shot this with my 14mm Rokinon at 30 seconds, ISO 3400, at 2.8.   

The valley looking east over the Foothills Pathway was a great spot for astrophotography.  I shot this with my 14mm Rokinon at 30 seconds, ISO 3400, at 2.8.   

 By now everyone knows not to stare at the sun, but when an eclipse is happening you need to be prepared because too much exposure can not only damage your eyes but also your camera's sensor.   Fortunately, the Camera Shop in Lansing made me a custom filter using Mylar and a filter ring that fit onto my 70-200mm.  I was able to get the partial eclipse due to the Mylar's 98% light reduction.  I also used a 1.4 Teleconverter so I was essentially shooting at 280mm to get in close to the sun. 

By now everyone knows not to stare at the sun, but when an eclipse is happening you need to be prepared because too much exposure can not only damage your eyes but also your camera's sensor.   Fortunately, the Camera Shop in Lansing made me a custom filter using Mylar and a filter ring that fit onto my 70-200mm.  I was able to get the partial eclipse due to the Mylar's 98% light reduction.  I also used a 1.4 Teleconverter so I was essentially shooting at 280mm to get in close to the sun. 

 Jim, Bryan, and I were all pretty worried because clouds were moving in and we were afraid that all this planning would be ruined, but it turned out the clouds added some great depth to the photos.  Bryan edited a shot right away, uploaded it and it took off on Instagram.  To date, Bryan's photo has almost 90k likes!    To get this shot, I took the Mylar filter off and treated it almost light a night shot.  I can't forget to mention just how eerie everything got. The light changed dramatically, frogs jumped into the lake we were at and it looked like there was a sunrise on all horizons.  We had two and a half minutes to take it all in, get all of our shots and hope for the best. 

Jim, Bryan, and I were all pretty worried because clouds were moving in and we were afraid that all this planning would be ruined, but it turned out the clouds added some great depth to the photos.  Bryan edited a shot right away, uploaded it and it took off on Instagram.  To date, Bryan's photo has almost 90k likes!  

To get this shot, I took the Mylar filter off and treated it almost light a night shot.  I can't forget to mention just how eerie everything got. The light changed dramatically, frogs jumped into the lake we were at and it looked like there was a sunrise on all horizons.  We had two and a half minutes to take it all in, get all of our shots and hope for the best. 

 All in all the trip was a success.  We had an amazing time staying with some of my family who live in Maryville, we cruised the infamous Tail of the Dragon, and spent time in a beautiful place with people we like.  I can't wait until the next eclipse and I hope to make it down to Tennessee more often. 

All in all the trip was a success.  We had an amazing time staying with some of my family who live in Maryville, we cruised the infamous Tail of the Dragon, and spent time in a beautiful place with people we like.  I can't wait until the next eclipse and I hope to make it down to Tennessee more often.