Zina Mirsky  

Annular Eclipse by Zina Mirsky

November 2023 - Annular Eclipse

About the Image(s)

this is an iPhone collage that I took during the annular eclipse on October 14, 2023. This might not be appropriate for a Group 55 image as it is "product-centric" rather than photography-centric.

I took a road trip to Bluff UT so that I could see the full annular eclipse of the sun, rather than just the partial eclipse that would be happening in my northern CA area. (Of course, we did lots of photography along the way, in Upper Antelope Canyon, Hovenweep, Natural Bridges NM, and Navajo country, so if you don't think this should be my entry for November I can send another image quickly).

I decided to use the iPhone rather than get a dedicated solar filter for my mirrorless Olympus because I wanted to try an optical product I had read about. "SolarSnap Eclipse App" was advertised by American Paper Optics, a reputable astronomy-related equipment site. A friend of mine who is a retired NASA analyst recommended it.

It is a simply designed Velcro-attached small cardboard-mounted eclipse 'glass film', that fits over the smartphone lenses, and does everything it promises. Using the free app (on any smartphone) you could safely view the eclipse without eyeglasses (unless you were not taking pictures) and document what you saw. The app allows for focus, zooming, and exposure corrections, and on the whole, it performed more competently than my Celestar solar scope did. We had a variety of smartphones in our group and each person had success.

When I had a series of eclipse examples, I planned to bring them into PhotoShop to make a composite, but I decided to try something else first. Since I captured the images on the iPhone, I signed up for a free month's trial of PhotoDirector, advertised by "PC Mag". It has a collage option that was simple to use and produced the image I'm sending.

So this month I'm more focused on the means to an end rather than the end product itself. If you think this is of interest to others, please do use it as my entry for November. If it's too product-specific I'll have another image ready to send to you at a moment's notice. Thank you .../zina

This round’s discussion is now closed!
5 comments posted

Lori Azevedo   Lori Azevedo
I'm always open to creativity. Surprisingly clear photos with an iPhone. Technology is getting better every day. I completely forgot about the eclipse that day. Glad you got the shot.   Posted: 11/06/2023 12:02:59

Butch Mazzuca   Butch Mazzuca
(Groups 7 & 73)
Terrific bit of creativity and stick-to-itedness (is that a word?) - as noted, your creativity is to be commended and with an iPhone, so much the better. Thanks for sharing.   Posted: 11/06/2023 14:41:07

Alec Chester   Alec Chester
The Iphone is amazing, and this is a good example. Very nicely done! It's always the camera that you have with you. I've been using it more recently and add pixels to boost the size. A larger size permits more flexibility in post.   Posted: 11/14/2023 16:44:23

Rick Taft   Rick Taft
I would not worry at all about being "product centric"...what you are doing is no different than one of us playing with a new set of ND filters or a lens baby type lens. It's all part of the art, and what you produced is certainly visually interesting. Seems like a perfect submission for Group 55 (or any other group).

One suggestion when you are going to an all-black-background image like this is to consider putting a thin border around it...because images on this web site are by default shown on a black background, it is impossible to isolate the edges of your frame and that risks having a viewer completely miss how you composed the shot (or collage).

As for the collage effect, I think you did a nice job for experimenting with a new tool. I like the way you have oriented the two crescents to point in different directions. It will be interesting to see if a tool like that has any uses other than viewing and photographing an eclipse,   Posted: 11/18/2023 10:43:31
Zina Mirsky   Zina Mirsky
Thank you for the pointer on putting a thin white frame around the image; I can do that! I oriented the crescents the way that the eclipse was viewed, from the beginning (crescent at the top) to the middle (the full annular ring), and then concluding with the ending (crescent of the moon leaving at the bottom. As for using this tool other than at eclipse times, nope, I think not! Maybe sunspots - I will try that when I know that there is extreme activity - but I don't think the magnification will capture that. At under $15 and reusable on many phones, I think SolarSnap will be useful and cost-effective for as many eclipses as I might see in the years I have left!   Posted: 11/18/2023 11:11:56