True Composite of four photos taken at 2:12pm, 5:56pm, 6:02pm, and 6:12pm. Captured with a Nikon D300, 80-200mm lens, and 77mm ND1000 filter. Alex Farris
Partial Solar Eclipse of 2014 | Alex Farris Photo Blog
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2014.10.23
Yesterday, there was a partial solar eclipse visible to pretty much the entire United States. I really wanted to see it; I missed the nine previous times a partial eclipse was visible in Indianapolis in my lifetime, and I have to wait until 2017 for my next opportunity (but first chance I get, I'm booking a hotel room in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, to see totality).

To watch this eclipse safely, I found a piece of welder's glass left over from the transit of Venus in 2012. I wanted to do better than take photos of a green sun, though, and Roberts had what I needed: a neutral density filter (the test of which captured the first of the four suns shown below). It makes everything about 10 stops darker, so it's not feasible for anything but taking photos of really bright objects. It was worth the money, both because this was my first eclipse and because I could use it in the future to take photos of sunspots. I'm a nerd.

I then found a spot along Eagle Creek Reservoir, called a friend over to see the show with me, waited until 5:32pm, and... watched clouds cover the Sun. They were patchy enough at first, so I shot until a solid wall of cloud completely blocked the view half an hour before sunset. I was a bit disappointed...

...but only a small bit. Every time I could fire a clear-ish shot, I looked at the back of my camera and saw something I had never seen in person before: Earth's nearest celestial neighbor casting a shadow onto me, blocking out at least a little bit of the light that Earthly life has depended on for five billion years. I said, "This is so cool!" at least five times in the hour I spent shooting.

Flip the light switch
Composite of four photos taken at 2:12pm, 5:56pm, 6:02pm, and 6:12pm. Used 80-200mm lens with 77mm ND1000 filter. Composite of four photos taken at 2:12pm, 5:56pm, 6:02pm, and 6:12pm. Captured with a Nikon D300, 80-200mm lens, and 77mm ND1000 filter. Alex Farris
I followed the eclipse over Eagle Creek Reservoir, planning to get some trees in the foreground near sunset. (The clouds prevented that.) Photo taken with ND1000 filter still on lens. I followed the eclipse over Eagle Creek Reservoir, planning to get some trees in the foreground near sunset. (The clouds prevented that.) Photo taken with ND1000 filter still on lens. Alex Farris

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THINGS WE SAID TODAY Indianapolis | Science
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I rented a 70-200 from BorrowLenses.com for the Super Bowl before I got my own. I liked them; I think you will, too.