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Totality from Dallas

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#1 archybean


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Posted 18 April 2024 - 11:22 PM

Bear with me as I get through my report. 2017 I was unlucky enough to be clouded out in St. Joseph Missouri. I was right on the center line and still got to experience the darkness. It was wild even with the clouds, we didn't know for sure if totality had started...but then it was dark like turning off a light bulb. Clouds did break right after so I got some slivers of the sun. Bummer!


So this year would be the first total I've photographed. I had a lot planned, and since it was local for me I was ok with what I had planned. If I'd had to do a lot of travel to my spot it'd be very focused on what I'd take.


Fast forward and after years of passive thinking and active planning I was ready. The weather wasn't though...thick low clouds. Decent shots through breaks until about 25 min before C2; from then on it was clear. My set up was D850 on my Celestron C6N for close shots. D3X on a 20mm Laowa shift lens for very wide angle landscape. Backup/if I have time cameras were D300s 17mm and infrared converted D200 17mm. GoPro time lapse. All my practicing I'd gotten my D3x 12x bracketing of 9 shots each down to 2:05-2:15. Had it down to very minimal looking at the camera. D850 I was running a basic script through the free version of Eclipse Orchestrator. I didn't fully trust the battery on my computer so I was only going to use EO for totality, and intervalometer in camera either side. 20 min or so before C2 I got EO fired up...and it didn't recognize the camera. Never had that problem in my tests.


I ended up taking some token pictures on the D3X, D300s, D200; but spent the majority of shots through the telescope. Visual observing through the camera, absorbing the detail close up. Looked through binoculars. Looked around 360 and took it all in. C3-C4 back on the intervalometer. Stoked to download data and see what I got. D850 I had 2 cards, XQD RAW SD jpg. Download it...and all jpg. Somehow hadn't set it to RAW+jpg.


My other project was inspired by Campbell Stokes recorders; they measure daylight by burning through paper from a large crystal sphere. Couple hundred years ago it was a hollowed out wood bowl with a water filled globe. Acted as a magnifying glass with the wood at the focal spot. My original plan was to make my own wood bowl, with an inlaid strip of different wood that would be the 'burning path'. That proved to be a bigger fish than I could fry so I went with just the strip of wood. This turned out to be a very popular draw for people walking by. I didn't get the East-West aligned exactly, but I really love the way it turned out. It made sense in my head it would work, but did this as an experiment to see how the covered sun changed the size of the burning.




The top burn is roughly 30 min before C1, spotted and varied due to clouds. The unburned section is the 3:46 seconds of totality I had. The bottom part is to roughly 30 min after C4. I also did a time lapse of the burning.



Lessons learned:

More practice

Better focus & more checks. Totality is *just* out of focus.

More detailed checklist


Constructive criticism welcomed. Question on diamond ring shots - I've got a cross in the flare. Is that from not being collimated; using a Newtonian and spider interference? Combination of the two?




Wish I had better data; any tips for combining the jpgs vs raw? I'm still blown away with what I saw and experienced!


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#2 Asbytec


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Posted 18 April 2024 - 11:41 PM

Very nice image. I like the burn idea. Interesting. 😎

#3 KMH


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Posted 19 April 2024 - 03:24 PM

Very nice!  The wood burning experiment is very cool.



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