This solar eclipse was a lot harder to get to than the Total Eclipse near Cairns last year, but I was determined to go and it’s amazing what you can do when you really want to see something so special.
Because of time restraints with work driving was out of the question, so Graham and I flew to Alice Springs and hired a motor home and drove up the Stuart Highway for nearly 600kms pass Tennant Creek and Churchill Rock to a place called Banka Banka Station.
Banka Banka Station was about 20 kilometres off the central line of the shadow path but I could live with that to be somewhere safe. We had to climb up a rocky ridge behind the campground before dawn to see the Sun come up and best of all there were only four other people there to enjoy this amazing event.
At sunrise there was a huge band of cloud on the horizon and wispy cirrus cloud spreading out all over the sky, we were extremely lucky to have seen any clear sky at all, because the night before it was completely clouded out. After a while of willing the cloud to go away, out came the Sun and for over two incredible hours I clicked away and watched every single moment of this awesome eclipse.
Because we had to fly I could only take minimal equipment, and for weeks before the eclipse I tried all sorts of imaging set-ups, in the end I decided on my Canon D40 camera and Canon 100-400mm lens with a 2x telecoverter with an Orion glass solar filter attached, this gave me an effective focal length of 1280mm but the drawback was I was working at f11. I was just hoping that the Sun was bright
enough at eclipse so my times were not too slow….and they were fine!
I also found this great tool called a Sol-Searcher by Tele-Vue that I got from Bintel that Velcro’s to the top of your lens to find the Sun…it was just fantastic. I also brought a new tripod head for my Manfrotto tripod that has micro adjustments knobs called a 410 Junior Geared Head, this was just perfect but I had to manually track the sun and keep my eye on it all the time…and that was half the fun as my eye was completely on the task of viewing the event.
After the eclipse we had some time to see other beautiful areas around Alice Springs, it’s such a pretty place the colours of the landscape and rocks are a photographers dream. I now know why so many people go eclipse chasing, it’s just so much fun and it’s a fantastic adventure.
Please see below a montage of three of my images when the Moon nearly covered the disc of the Sun. This type of solar eclipse is called an Annular because the Moon is further away from the Earth in its orbit and its apparent size is smaller than the Sun. That is why the Sun appears to have a bright ring of light around it, an Annulus surrounding the dark disc of the Moon.