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A photographer's adventure with the eclipse

The 2017 eclipse tested the photography skills of CNET's Stephen Shankland. Here's a look at how he shot the astronomical event and the photos he got.

stephenshankland.jpg
stephenshankland.jpg

Stephen Shankland

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1 of 17 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Eclipse beginning

The partial eclipse -- visible across the whole USA -- featured a moment of drama when the moon's shadow started gobbling up a string of sunspots.

My eclipse photography began in earnest at dawn in a plowed-over field in Weiser, Idaho, rented out to tourists at $30 per car. Most of us who arrived overnight to beat the traffic napped through the chilly morning hours.
2 of 17 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Dawn before the eclipse

My eclipse photography began in earnest at dawn in a plowed-over field in Weiser, Idaho, rented out to tourists at $30 per car. Most of us who arrived overnight to beat the traffic napped through the chilly morning hours.

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3 of 17 Brad Marshland

Photographing the eclipse

CNET's Stephen Shankland photographs the eclipse as moon starts occluding the sun. Note the black gaffer's tape stuck lens barrel to lock the focus.

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4 of 17 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Last sliver of sun

A rapidly narrowing sliver of sun means the total eclipse of the sun is coming in minutes.

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5 of 17 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Eclipse diamond ring

The "diamond ring," with a little bit of the sun and combined with its blazing corona, is a tough photo to get because you have to capture a fleeting moment.

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6 of 17 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Eclipse corona

I traveled to Weiser, Idaho, to see the 2017 eclipse. My favorite part, unsurprisingly: totality, when the sun's corona streams off into space. It's easily visible with the naked eye and a sight to behold.

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7 of 17 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Solar prominences

These "prominences" on the sun's surface surprised me: I can photograph this with ordinary camera equipment? Yes, as long as there's a total eclipse to make it easier.

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8 of 17 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Eclipse photography setup

The eclipse photography setup of CNET reporter Stephen Shankland: Canon 7D Mark II, 100-400mm lens with 1.4x telephoto adapter, Gitzo tripod, Wimberly tripod head, Baader AstroSolar filter.

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9 of 17 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Eclipse crescents

Sunlight coming through the trees takes on the crescent shape of the sun. A curiosity: as the sun gets smaller and becomes more like a point source of light than a bigger circular blob, the sharpness of these images increases.

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10 of 17 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Corona photo success

A moment of relief: My corona shots came out OK! I had to check shortly after totality finished.

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11 of 17 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Freaky eclipse shadows

The eclipsed sun makes shadows look peculiar.

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12 of 17 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Gazing up

A young eclipse viewer in Weiser, Idaho. 

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13 of 17 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Eclipse contrasts

One surprise of the eclipse, here shown after totality, is that the edge of the sun blocked by the moon is sharper than the edge of the sun against the darkness of space. The irregular contours of the moon are visible in silhouette.

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14 of 17 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Eclipse binocular kludge

A little gaffer's tape and some ripped-up cardboard converted binoculars so we could see sunspots.

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15 of 17 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Solar Eclipse Timer app

The Solar Eclipse Timer helped me keep track of the progress of the eclipse, customized for my location in Weiser, Idaho.

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16 of 17 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Eclipse binoculars

A little gaffer's tape and some ripped-up cardboard converted binoculars so we could see sunspots.

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17 of 17 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Eclipse's last gasp

In a futile effort to beat a little bit of the traffic headed south from Idaho, we left before the partial eclipse ended. My son watched the last part from the car window. Everybody else had the same idea about beating traffic. We even encountered a traffic jam nearly 12 hours later and far to the south as we drove back to the San Francisco Bay Area.

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