Disappearing act

Going, going, going…. The sun fades into the smoky murk last night, disappearing from view over half an hour before sunset. We abandoned our hiking plans this weekend because the smoke was really bad near Whistler. Kicking back at home, maybe venturing out for a less strenuous day hike instead. The photos were taken about 7-8 minutes apart – there’s one lone sunspot on the sun right now, maybe just about visible in the first two photos.

I couldn’t resist taking this series of photos as the sun set. I’ve already taken some during the current round of wildfires, but since the smoky conditions rolled in last week I’ve been wanting to capture how quickly the sun fades as drops into the layers of smoke.

After setting up one photo to my liking, I copied those settings (especially the crop – which can’t be defined in pixels in DxO, a major oversight in my opinion) to the other three, re-centred the sun, and adjusted the colour and contrast. My original idea was to match the brightness of the sky, but that led to so weird-looking photos, so in the and I let the sky do what seemed to work best while I concentrated on the sun itself. Apart from the edge-response in the first image where the sun is bright, I’m really quite happy with the way they turned out.

I did take a couple more photos while the sun was barely visible, but these didn’t work – I couldn’t process them in a way that produced an image that showed anything. Thankfully, I don’t think they were needed to demonstrate my point.

On a side note, this didn’t post to Twitter, so I’m guessing that the IFTTT applet I’m using doesn’t support Instagram slideshows. Phooey.

Mercury and the Sun

A little black disc against a big bright disc: Mercury (lower left) wanders across the face of the Sun. The fuzzy patch in the upper part is sunspot 2542.

My original idea was to dig out my solar filter and attach it to one of our SLRs, but that meant trying to work out which box it’s stored in. It was much easier to simply project the image onto a white sheet of paper. Having said that, it took a few attempts to get the camera to focus on the image, and then angle the paper so that it wasn’t too shiny (it’s amazing how shiny paper is when projecting the Sun). I was also impressed with the camera’s resolution, even showing up the fibres in the paper. With the breeze and heat haze from the Sun itself, it took quite a few photos to get a handful that were sharp enough to show. This is one of them. Obviously 🙂