PhotoshopCAFE, Adobe, and Canon USA Take on the Solar Eclipse

Colin Smith of PhotoshopCAFE teamed up with Adobe Principle Creative Director, Russell Brown, and the Canon USA team to photograph the solar eclipse in Casper, Wyoming. In the nearly 16-minute behind-the-scenes video, we get to see some of the equipment Canon Explorer of Light Ken Sklute was using to capture the eclipse with the rest of the Canon USA team.

Smith met up with Brown, Jeremy Thiel, and Chris Knight in Casper, Wyoming two days before the eclipse to scout and photograph some beautiful locations and take some aerial imaging while on the trip. I have to say that seeing an aerial video over Fremont Canyon is amazing to see and shows how Wyoming has some of the most beautiful landscape in the United States.  You can hear the group discussing whether they should stay at the canyon and only have 80 seconds of totality or to go to a "boring" location and have more than a whole minute more to photograph the eclipse.

The three take some time in downtown Casper to check out "the madness" in the area where totality will be passing through the following day. They get some last minute weather predictions from a meteorologist at the local CBS affiliate saying to be positive about the cloud cover for the following day. The video shows just how momentous this eclipse was, bringing large amounts of people from within and outside the United States to Casper, with a map that shows where people had traveled from.

The full 16-person group finally arrived at their ranch shooting location and had everything from some of the largest telephoto lenses that Canon offers to the latest DSLR and cinema camera bodies. Each of these was trained on the sun capturing the solar eclipse while many were also attached to sophisticated equatorial tracking mounts to keep the sun within the center of the frame. Smith also goes through using a CamRanger for photographing the eclipse so he can more easily confirm focus and the sun's placement in the frame.

The rest of the video is all about the experience of photographing totality, how the lighting changes so quickly, and how the experience can be life changing. I got to experience some of this as I photographed my first eclipse just west of their group in the Bridger-Teton area at the same time. Take a few minutes and watch the video and experience some of what Smith and the group witnessed before, during, and after the solar eclipse. 

JT Blenker's picture

JT Blenker, Cr. Photog., CPP is a Photographic Craftsman and Certified Professional Photographer who also teaches workshops throughout the USA focusing on landscape, nightscape, and portraiture. He is the Director of Communications at the Dallas PPA and is continuing his education currently in the pursuit of a Master Photographer degree.

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I suppose the gear is impressive but I did just as well with a lot less. :-/

Definitely looks more professional than my setup did. :P

That looks a lot like mine! :-) Instead of using a rubber band for the solar film, I worm clamped it to a 4" rubber pipe coupling, modified to fit my Tamron 150-600. That made it quick and easy to remove for the total eclipse and then put back on afterward!

Since the rubber band is only holding it to the lens hood, it was easy to take on and off as well. I just popped the whole lens hood off at the start and end of totality, leaving the filter attached to the lens hood.

I thought about doing that but since my hood is a petal type, I was concerned about crinkling, etc.. I'll rethink it for 2024! The path of totality will only be a few miles from my house. :-)

I had a DayStar Filters 90mm White-Light Universal Lens Solar Filter on my 300mm lens. I bought gaffer tape; I used it, but not to secure the filter to the lens since the wind was light in South Carolina. I did use the tape to secure the interval timer to my 5D.

How did that work for you? It sounds a lot easier than the Thousand Oaks Optical mylar film I used.

It worked great, except for the fact that I forgot to remove the solar filter during totality. I saw one video where a person taped a sheet of filter over the lens on top and bottom; for totality, he removed the top tape. That appeared to work for him.

Yeah the ET-87 hood that came with my 70-200 is petal style as well. It worked, but I'd say this sheet is 1 time use. I'm planning to do something a little more professional for 2024.