Will Dunn's picture

Diamond Ring

Ever since I saw images online of the total solar eclipse that crossed parts of the USA back in 2017 I knew I had to witness this celestial event. I learned that the next total solar eclipse was to occur in 2024 so my mind was set. I was glued to the weather models weeks before the eclipse date and about a week before the event, things were not looking good weather-wise. For several days in advance, the weather models were showing a sprawling but weak low pressure system spreading clouds all across southern Ontario. At the time, Eastern Ontario (Belleville to Cornwall) was forecast to be mainly clear. But as the eclipse drew nearer the forecast was changing as the weather system was advancing to the east quicker than originally anticipated. But the silver lining was that SW Ontario was to experience clearing skies during early afternoon on April 8. So I made my decision to drive down past London and then towards Lake Erie to be in the path of totality.
The path of totality is simply the area that experiences 100% moon coverage of the sun. I had already read from a lot of sources that if you wanted to experience and photograph the full eclipse that you would need to be located within the path of totality.
I scanned Google Maps to find a good location to be able to park and setup my camera. I decided on a public park in the town of Blenheim just southeast of Chatham, Ontario. This ended up being a perfect location as it was very quiet and had a large field so my view wasn't obstructed by trees or any tall buildings. I didn't even need to bring my camping chair as I had a comfy park bench all to myself.
I arrived at my location in plenty of time so I was able to check over all my settings and gear and ensure everything was working and setup properly. The solar eclipse is VERY tricky to shoot as the light changes so much in the moments just before totality and then during totality. I had gone over my camera settings several times prior to make sure everything was just right. As the moon was travelling across the face of the sun the moment was quickly coming close. As the sun became a tiny sliver of light I knew it was just about time. I removed the solar filter from my camera lens and started firing several exposure brackets of nine shots each over and over in succession. I was shooting at 500mm so that meant that I'd have to recompose the sun in my frame every couple mins as the sun and moon moves very fast at longer focal lengths. This was a challenge as well as trying my best not to touch the focus ring on my lens which can be very easily moved accidentally. Focusing at 500mm is very tricky as the area of focus in the focal plane is extremely narrow.
Once totality hit I took off my solar glasses and looked up at the sun. My brain couldn't comprehend what I was seeing as it was such an alien sight. The two minutes of totality came and went so quickly but looking up at the sky to see this whitish ring of fire was absolutely mind blowing !
The image in this post is what's known as the "Diamond Ring." This occurs when the final burst of light from the sun is emitted just before actual totality begins. It also occurs during the opposite time, just after totality is over when the sun is reappearing out the other side of the moon. The diamond ring can be very tricky to capture properly as this light only lasts for 10-15 seconds max and is extremely bright.
By the end of the day I had driven over 700km total to experience the total solar eclipse. The time planning and travelling was definitely worth it !!

Camera Settings:
Nikon Z5 & Nikon 200-500 lens
f/8, 1/250 sec, ISO-100, 500mm

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Thank you !!

Very Nice

Thank you Ron !