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Sun, Moon and Stars

The red sun of Krypton

Fans of Superman will get the reference there. 😉

As I mentioned yesterday, the last few days have seen our normally clear, blue Colorado skies obscured with smoke from wildfires in Oregon and Montana. Yesterday morning as I arrived at my photo destination right at sunrise, I couldn’t help but take note of the rather odd coloring of the sun.

The smoke gave it distinctive red coloring and the light was so filtered, I was able to shoot directly at it without any sort of filter. There were even a few sunspots easily visible. Kind of cool but also kind of eerie.

Haze and smoke from wildfires in the western United States colors the rising sun in red. (© Tony’s Takes)

Haze and smoke from wildfires in the western United States colors the rising sun in red. (© Tony’s Takes)

The Milky Way as seen from the Wyoming plains

During a recent visit to our neighboring state to the north, I took the opportunity to get out and do some astrophotography. I don’t really have the right gear to do this justice (need a faster lens) but it is fun to go out and see what I can come up with. Here you do get a pretty good view of our galaxy although there were a few, light clouds that intruded on the view.

A view of the Milky Way as seen from southeastern Wyoming.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A view of the Milky Way as seen from southeastern Wyoming. (© Tony’s Takes)

A view of the Milky Way as seen from southeastern Wyoming.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A view of the Milky Way as seen from southeastern Wyoming. (© Tony’s Takes)

Photo slideshow captures the Great American Eclipse

I don’t know how many “amazing” adjectives I can use to describe the solar eclipse last week and my being under the path of totality. More than a week later I still can’t believe it. The problem is that I don’t know how best to depict the photos I took of the event. The collage I shared last week did a good job I think and now I took some of the images and put them into a video slideshow. What do you think?

Solar eclipse provides prime corona viewing

Such a treat to be able to capture not only the eclipse but also this rarely seen part of our Sun. This is actually a sequence of seven images, all taken at different exposures, stacked on top of each other using a technique called HDR – High Dynamic Range. Compiling images that were under, over and properly exposed all together allow a greater level of detail of the corona to be seen in photographs than what would otherwise be possible.

It truly was beautiful to witness in person and this image helps to capture it. Extending thousands of miles from the star’s surface, this area of plasma is the Sun’s outermost atmosphere. It is normally only visible during an eclipse or by using a specialized type of telescope called a coronagraph. The area is actually hotter than the surface of the sun with temperatures up to 18 million degrees Fahrenheit!

This image is available for purchase here.

An HDR image of the Great American Eclipse at totality showcases the sun's corona. (© Tony’s Takes)

An HDR image of the Great American Eclipse at totality showcases the sun’s corona. (© Tony’s Takes)

Panorama of the stages of Eclipse 2017

Stepping outside my comfort zone here and piggybacking on some ideas for collages I saw online. This one takes 11 images of the various stages of the solar eclipse from start to finish as seen from Goshen County, Wyoming. I am far from a Photoshop pro as I rarely need to use it for most of my work but this one came out pretty good I think.

All images taken with my Canon 7D Mark II and a Sigma 150-600 Sports.

A collage of images of the various stages of the Great American Eclipse. (© Tony’s Takes)

A collage of images of the various stages of the Great American Eclipse. (© Tony’s Takes)

Partial phases of Eclipse 2017

Three years ago my brother mentioned the eclipse to me and we said then we were going to go and I am so thankful that I did. For the photography I did a lot of reading, planning and practicing and it panned out. I captured the event from start to finish and overall think the pics came out quite well.

Here is a series of eight images together – the top four showing the eclipse beginning and the bottom four showing it ending. Me thinks a trip to Texas in 2024 may be in order! 😉

Various stages of the partially eclipsed sun during the Great American Eclipse.   (© Tony’s Takes)

Various stages of the partially eclipsed sun during the Great American Eclipse. (© Tony’s Takes)

The diamond ring

Oh my. I cannot begin to describe what I experienced yesterday. Eclipse 2017 was everything I had hoped it would be. Breathtaking would be a good word for it.

Here you see the ‘diamond ring effect’ – the few seconds right before the eclipse enters totality. Nothing short of amazing!

I had planned on driving home right afterwards but unfortunately traffic kept me in place. I did actually start to head for home and didn’t make it two miles before hitting a monster traffic jam on this little highway in southeastern Wyoming. Rather than fight it, I turned around and spent another night up here. More pictures to come!

The diamond ring effect of the 2017 total solar eclipse.  (© Tony’s Takes)

The diamond ring effect of the 2017 total solar eclipse. (© Tony’s Takes)

Practicing for the 2017 Great American Eclipse

I received my solar filter and we finally had some sun this afternoon so I got out and there and started getting things nailed down. Not too bad for my first attempt, even got a little sunspot on there. Focusing just perfect will be a challenge but the exposure part is figured out I think. Totally forgot to turn off image stabilization which I need to remember to do. Going to have to come up with a checklist to have with me. Can’t wait!

Full view of the sun using a solar filter. Note the small sunspot toward the bottom right.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Full view of the sun using a solar filter. Note the small sunspot toward the bottom right. (© Tony’s Takes)

Blue moon

Daytime images of our only natural satellite are a lot of fun. Normally we only pay attention to the moon in the dark but during the day it looks pretty neat against those blue skies.  Taken yesterday morning, the waning gibbous moon was easily seen in the southwestern sky.

I can’t help but look at the moon and wonder ‘what could have been’ had our nation continued on its course of manned space exploration exploring beyond low Earth orbit rather than essentially giving up in the early 1970s. Surely by now we would have bases on the moon and likely would have even been to Mars. Such a shame.

The landing sites of Apollo 12, 14 and 15 can actually be seen in this image. Those of Apollo 11, 16 and 17 are just inside the area in shadow on the right. Want to know where they are? See here for more info.

A daytime capture of a waning gibbous moon. (© Tony’s Takes)

A daytime capture of a waning gibbous moon. (© Tony’s Takes)