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Annular Solar Eclipse over Wukoki Pueblo

When I started researching locations to shoot this weekend's solar eclipse, I knew almost immediately I wanted to try to capture it over something ancient--it seemed the perfect setting for an astronomical phenomenon that touches something primal inside all of us. Looking at the path the eclipse would follow, the Wukoki Pueblo at Wupatki National Monument was my obvious choice, and my research showed the setting eclipsed sun would descend directly over the pueblo.


This image is two exposures, blended by hand in Photoshop (not HDR, and not a composite). I took one exposure for the pueblo, and one with a solar filter to get a crisp shot of the eclipsed sun. This is where being an auto-didact pays off: I've never shot anything like this before (this is my first attempt at any kind of astrophotography, not counting the occasional moon image), and with a little reading and research, I found the info online I needed to buy the materials and instructions to craft my own solar filter. Thank goodness everything worked as expected!


This was such an amazing thing to witness--I was so absorbed in watching the eclipse through my eclipse viewer that I almost forgot to start clicking the shutter when the eclipse reached maximum! There was a HUGE crowd at Wupatki National Monument to view the eclipse, clustered primarily at the various groupings of ruins. I'm fascinated with the apparently universal desire among all us humans to witness phenomena like this.

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Taken on May 20, 2012