The 2017 Solar Eclipse

In case you had not heard, there was a solar eclipse today, August 21, 2017. Of course, you could not miss hearing about it, with everyone talking about it, buying eclipse glasses, complaining about fake eclipse glasses, worrying about what the school children might do, worrying about what the pets might do, planning office parties, planning trips to prime viewing areas, and whatever else people were doing for the day.

The Memphis area was supposed to be a good viewing spot. We were not quite in the total eclipse path, although our eclipse was calculated to be 93% to 94%. But as usual, we had to contend with the weather.

Right as the eclipse started, the clouds moved in. No problem, we went to eat lunch at our office party and waited for the clouds to move out. When we were finished eating, the clouds did in fact start to move out, so we all ran outside with our eclipse glasses to get a look. The moon was just starting to move in front of the sun, but we could definitely see it happening. Then the clouds moved back in. And then the rain started. And then the rain poured, right up until a couple of minutes before the peak time.

Then, right on cue, the rain ended, and the clouds thinned out a little bit. I grabbed my camera, set everything for what I thought would be ideal, and hoped for the best. Here it is:

2017 Total Solar Eclipse

As it turns out, the cloud cover that I had not wanted to see was in fact a benefit, letting just enough of the sun through the clouds to create a pretty dramatic view. How cool is that? And yes, while it was not dark enough to see the stars, it was still noticeably darker outside, just in case you were wondering.

I did get a few other photos, too. When I first went outside with my camera, it had just finished raining, and the humidity was way up, while the air conditioner was blowing full force inside the office. Anyone who has ever tried to take a photo immediately after walking out of a hotel room in Florida knows what happened next:

2017 Total Solar Eclipse

Yes, that’s right, the lens fogged up. Big time. However, I thought the effect here was pretty cool, and you can still see the moon moving in front of the sun, so I like it. Definitely not top quality photography here, but that’s okay. Let’s call it art instead.

Here also is a more traditional eclipse photo, taken as the moon was starting to move on away from the sun:

2017 Total Solar Eclipse

For this one, I borrowed my Dad’s three neutral density filters and layered them all together. Not ideal for continuous shooting, and definitely not as good as solar filters, but it worked well for quickly pointing the camera at the sun, pressing the shutter button, and then pointing the camera back down, all while making sure that you were not looking through the viewfinder at the sun. Because I couldn’t look through the viewfinder, these were trial and error shots, and then a little bit of cropping to get the eclipse more in the center of the frame. Good enough for what I planned to do with these photos, which was to share them with you here.

Even though things looked questionable for a while, everything turned out well, and we got to enjoy the 2017 Solar Eclipse! I hope you did as well.

And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. - Deuteronomy 4:19

About the Photo

Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Canon EOS 60D
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm, Canon EF 28-105mm
Date: August 21, 2017
Location: Bartlett, Tennessee

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.