Annular Eclipse–Favorite Photos of 2012

Annular Eclipse 120520-rework-2a

Annular Eclipse of May, 20, 2012. This was taken during the maximum annular phase.

"Partial" phase of the eclipse moments before reaching peak eclipse--the annular phase.

“Partial” phase of the eclipse moments before reaching its peak (the annular phase).

Peak eclipse--here you can see the partially-occluded "Ring of Fire."

Peak eclipse–here you can see the partially-occluded “Ring of Fire.” Of course, the one cloud picked this moment to cover up the action!

This was taken immediately after the annular phase. Note how the red sky is deepening as the sun and moon approach the horizon!

This was taken immediately after the annular phase. Note how the red in the sky is deepening as the sun and moon approach the horizon!

Sun is approaching the horizon slightly faster than the moon...

The sun is approaching the horizon slightly faster than the moon…

I kept moving my tripod to center the setting sun with the foreground objects...It almost seems like the sun has found its cradle for spending the night!

I kept moving my tripod to center the setting sun with the foreground objects…It almost seems like the sun has found its cradle for the night!

These photos of the annular eclipse of May 20, 2012 remain some of my favorite all-time photographs. I have this event to thank for truly rekindling my passion for serious photography and photo-editing.

I edited an original series of photographs immediately afterwards, but I wanted to look at them with fresh eyes now that I have had some more practice and have more powerful software (namely, Lightroom).

In reality, however, there isn’t much editing applied to these photos. They were AMAZING straight out of the camera, but I did a little tweaking to even out exposure and color; the camera had a little difficulty with this on its own, owing to the bright sun and dark foreground. I left the foreground essentially black, but brought out a few details. I like it more or less as a silhouette. What do you think?

Here is the story behind our “eclipse chase”: There were significant clouds in town where my husband and I live, so we weren’t sure what we would find. We had a printed map showing us the line where we would be able to find the exact maximum eclipse—not even just where we would see the annular phase itself, but where we would see the moon perfectly centered in front of the disc of the sun—and we drove along that line until we found a good “off-the-beaten-path” site (with objects in the foreground to provide something to give relative scale to the photo) where we set up our tripods and cameras. This was right near the Texas-New Mexico line. We were lucky to discover that, from this vantage point, the heaviest clouds were to our east and would not be obscuring much of the eclipse. Of course, despite this, the sun moved directly behind that sliver of a cloud you see in the pictures just at the moment of that maximum phase—thus blocking out the moment where we would have seen the perfect “ring of fire.” Just my luck! Nonetheless, the clouds add a little dimension to the photos that a flat, boring sky wouldn’t offer. What do you think? Would it have been better not to have any clouds at all?

Now that I’ve finally seen an annular eclipse, my next mission is to see a total eclipse (in which the disc of the sun in completely obscured by the moon—and the sky falls dark like night). Hopefully I will fulfill that dream before the decade is out.

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8 thoughts on “Annular Eclipse–Favorite Photos of 2012

  1. Fantastic images! I’m not surprised that they’re some of your all-time favourites. I’d be really happy to both see and snap something this good.

    • Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed them. It’s one of the most incredible things I’ve ever witnessed, much less photographed. It’s definitely worth going out of your way to see it; we were lucky–we only had to drive about an hour or so–but I would gladly have traveled farther.

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