Butter headquarters is coming to you this morning from The Land of Enchantment – New Mexico! Jeremy has a meeting here and since we are fans of the multi-tasking, I suggested we stop in Albuquerque on the drive down, to… you know, SHOOT THE ANNULAR SOLAR ECLIPSE?!
Albuquerque was along that narrow swath to get a perfect ring when the moon passed between our sun and our beloved planet. Jeremy, native son of New Mexico, suggested getting a high vantage from someplace like Sandia Crest, 5000 feet above Albuquerque. Several hundreds (thousand or more?) had the same idea… The forest service had the tremendous task of managing parking and emergency services while throngs of excited people flocked to the long north-south ridge crest. My National Parks Annual Pass got us in the door (they turned cars away that didn’t have a recreation pass – those folks parked further down the road).
to my south: my setup and fellow eclipse watchers
to my north – more eclipse watchers
For those wanting to know, here is what I shot with: my main system was the Nikon D3X with the Nikkor 500mm f4 lens (lens courtesy of Pro Photo Rental, they are the best!) and a sheet of Baader Astrosolar safety film courtesy of Doug Duncan, the Director of the Fiske Planetarium at the University of Colorado, Boulder. My second system was the Nikon D700 and a Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8. My third system was the iphone.
the sun, high in the sky
It took 30 minutes to scout out a proper location without obstructions and without getting in anyone’s way (remember, you want a clear path all the way to sunset). We finally settled among a group of the nicest people from New Mexico, Texas, and even two charming gentleman from as far away as the UK! There was a buzz of excitement in the air, even with over an hour to wait before anything actually happened. Jeremy and I had our handy solar eclipse glasses we purchased from our local hardware store (McGuckin – they’re awesome!). We purchased a dozen extras and proceeded to hand them out to anyone who needed a pair. [One New Mexico resident, Joseph Woods, was so appreciative he gave me his card and said I could select one of his artworks as a thank you - so sweet!] Before long, people were sharing food and filters and everyone was so damn nice! We should have eclipses more often.
the view over the rio grande rift valley
getting dimmer during the eclipse, but it was still incredibly bright out
Around 6:31pm (according to my camera time stamp), the moon began to take a small nibble out of the bottom right corner of the sun. We had about an hour to totality (when the moon is directly centered on the sun – in this case, the annular eclipse results in a ring). Mine was likely the most powerful magnification in my vicinity, and since eclipses are thankfully slow, I offered to let my neighbors look through the camera at the sun, sunspots, the shadow of the moon throughout the phases. SCIENCE!!! I photographed the disc of the sun with the big guns, but Jeremy reminded me of other fun things like eclipse shadows and pinhole projections.
pinhole projection on the only paper i had
cool eclipse shadows from the leaves projected on a rock (photo by jeremy)
the sun at totality – it’s still super bright
pinhole projection at totality
**Jump for more butter**