Photographing a Solar Eclipse : An Amazing Experience!

Photographing a solar eclipse was an incredible adventure!

It was only a 4 hour drive to Hopkinsville, KY to get the longest duration of totality in the country. Never mind that it took over 7 hours to get home. Still worth it!

Amazing Shadows

2017 Total Solar Eclipse Hopkinsville Kentucky

One of my favorite parts of the eclipse was the crescent-shaped shadows created by light filtering through leaves.

If you find yourself present for an eclipse, make sure to look for these! And you don’t have to ben in totality for this to happen.

This phenomenon occurs because the leaves of the tree are acting basically as a pinhole camera.

They provide small openings for the light source (the sun) to pass through. So as the shape of the light source changes, the shadows change shape as well.

Additionally, shadows can also become more focused with sharper edges.

This is for two reasons. First, the light source of the sun becomes narrower as the moon passes in front of it.

The second reason is as the sun becomes obscured, there is less ambient light to soften the edges of the shadows.

This video explains it well, if you need more info.

Phases of a Solar Eclipse

2017 Total Solar Eclipse Hopkinsville Kentucky

It was fun documenting the different phases of the solar eclipse. These first two photo capture what is referred to as the “diamond ring” for obvious reasons.

2017 Total Solar Eclipse Hopkinsville Kentucky

When totality occurs, you can see the outermost layer of the sun’s atmosphere, called the corona. Such a cool sight!

2017 Total Solar Eclipse Hopkinsville Kentucky
2017 Total Solar Eclipse Hopkinsville Kentucky

I also made sure to document the experience itself, so I took lots of photos of people observing the various stages of the eclipse throughout the afternoon.

2017 Total Solar Eclipse Hopkinsville Kentucky. Camera setup & kids
2017 Total Solar Eclipse Hopkinsville Kentucky

Eclipse Time Lapse

Also, here’s a time lapse of the scene that I shot on my iPhone.  It’s cool to watch how dark it gets in such a short amount of time.

Photographing a Solar Eclipse in 2024

There’s ANOTHER solar eclipse happening in 2024 and my home is in the path of totality! I can’t wait to enjoy the next one!

Leave questions in the comments and tune into my social media like Instagram & TikTok to see my next set of images!

Author: Zach Dobson

Zach Dobson is a documentary and commercial photographer based in Indianapolis. He holds a degree in journalism from Indiana University with a concentration in photography. Since starting his business in 2006, Zach has focused on documenting people’s lives and businesses in action. Zach’s client list includes the Indiana Pacers, Coca-Cola, the AARP, ZipCar, Indiana University, Visit Bloomington, Hamilton County Tourism, Land O’Lakes, RIOT LA Comedy Festival, Indianapolis Public Schools, Indiana High School Athletic Association. Zach is a Professional Member of the American Society of Media Photographers [ASMP]. He resides in Carmel, Ind. with his wife and business partner, Courtney, and their five children.

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