nojay (nojay) wrote,

Through A Glass Brightly

I decided to make an effort to shoot some pictures of yesterday's eclipse, and that meant SCIENCE!

I'm going to Japan in May and I found a good deal on a small superzoom bridge camera, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H300 which serendipitously would a) replace my need for a telescope with its 35x zoom and b) provide a large image courtesy of its 20 megapixel sensor. Of course that range of zoom, small sensor and high pixel count would mean the actual image quality would suffer but I wasn't aiming for detail or colour accuracy particularly.

I built a simple frame to position a welder's helmet green filter glass in front of the camera which, mounted on a solid tripod reduced the amount of light hitting the camera sufficiently to prevent damaging the sensor and generally allowed the camera's autofocus and exposure control to do its job. The filter meant the images turned out green though. A piece of cardboard thumbtacked to the top acted as a sunshield and allowed me to see the camer's display for positioning and focus. I used the self-timer to avoid camera shake as much as possible.

I found a location nearby with no trees in the way and a clear line of sight south at the front of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art along with a number of other eclipse-watchers.

The result (cropped and reduced to 60%)?

I've edited together a sequence of the shots I managed to take over the entire eclipse, further cropping and reducing them and also converting them to greyscale as the green colour was rather distracting. Clouds rolled in during the eclipse and caused some problems shooting through the gaps when they appeared so the best images I have are from early on in the sequence.

 I'll try and photograph the Lunar eclipse coming this autumn (six months after this solar eclipse, not coincidentally) and see if I can do better than my last attempt which was with a camera with a much shorter zoom range and smaller pixel count sensor. I won't need a welding filter for that though.
Tags: astrophotography, digital cameras, diy, eclipse, moon, pictures

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