Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Filming the "Ring of Fire" Solar Eclipse in Lake Tahoe

"Ring of Fire" Annular Eclipse of the Sun in Lake Tahoe (VIDEO)

May 20th, 2012 there was a solar eclipse in Lake Tahoe, so I packed up all my photography gear and hopped in my buddy's porche and we headed down to Nevada Beach with the sunroof open.

It was remarkably non-crowded for a once-in-a-lifetime event. There was still parking available at the regular $7 rate, and lots of space on the beach still open.

There was a generally festive atmosphere as all the people wandered around in their eclipse glasses and enjoyed my favorite beach on Lake Tahoe.

It was everything you could've hoped for in a natural setting, wide open views of the entire Tahoe basin and not a cloud in the sky to the northwest; it was so beautiful I couldn't resist taking this picture and posting it to my Google+ profile with a GPS attached in case anybody wanted to track me down and do a Hangout in Real Life #HIRL.

After filming my intro I looked up and saw that people were already starting to look at the sun through their eclipse glasses.  I hastily trucked my camera and tripod over to my filming location and duct taped a piece of #13 welder's glass loaned to me by Alpine Welding over my camera and shot what became this video:

While my HD video camera filmed the eclipse, I took some shots of the crowd and changing light with my cell phone camera

Though it wasn't exactly darkness in broad daylight, the sunlight did dim noticable (to about 25% of normal daylight. 

Right at the totality of the eclipse a flock of birds went out circling over the lake, giving everyone an amazing acrobatic show.

Though I explicitly warned my audience in the announcement video that they probably couldn't get a good eclipse picture with their cell phone camera, I couldn't resist trying ot for myself... Not too bad for a cell phone camera, but then again I did make an instructional video on camera phone photography so maybe I'm a little more skilled than most. 

By this point the totality of the eclipse was passing and the sunlight starting to return, so I checked my cell phone and noticed that my google+ buddy +Krishna Vinod had left me a message saying he was on the beach, too... So I arranged to interview him and his daughter for the video.  He actually found me using the GPS on the picture I posted, marking the first time in years of posting locations anybody ever found me in real life from an internet GPS. 

Once I got home, I rushed to photoshop the best still I could out of my video footage... I was amazed by the level of detail my HD camera captured; though I didn't capture a very tight border on the moon, I did get a lot of the sun's corona, including several solar flares... Awesome.