Solar eclipse seen from Udine/Italy in 2015

Solar eclipse –The moon dances with the sun

Udine/Italy. (2015) – It was in August 1999 when I sat with friends in an Austrian beer garden witnessing the rare event of a total solar eclipse. It was the century’s last total eclipse of the sun,
for me the first I ever saw. What an incredible show the moon and the sun offered on that day.
I still remember clearly how the full moon slowly moved in front of the vigorous bright sun,
taking it’s light away little by little and with it also its warmth. When the moon finally totally covered the sun, we only could see  a slim but very bright, beautiful ring around the moon. 
It looked so beautiful, like the moon was dancing with the sun. It was such a great spectacle,
which only lasted a few minutes but these moments are unforgettable, even though I did not photograph it. On March 20th, 2015 – almost 16 years later – I had the great pleasure to witness again a solar eclipse. This time I was in Udine in Italy when it happened and the eclipse was only partial but not less exciting to watch. In opposite to my first experience, on this occasion, I had my NIKON ready for cool photography experience and for documenting this partial solar eclipse. 
Solar eclipse seen from Udine/Italy in 2015
X-ray film turned out to be a great filter 
From shooting sunsets I kind of had an idea that it wouldn’t be so easy to capture a solar eclipse in general but also this partial one which happened when I was in the beautiful Friuli city of Udine on March 20th, 2015. I know it would be a rather difficult task. The solar eclipse was going to happen in the later morning hours, between 9,30 am and 10.45 am local time. And warnings not to look in the bright sunlight came from all corners days before. TV, radio and newspapers, all kept warning people. Out of my own painful experience when I was shooting a sunset too early once I knew, that even when the sun sets, the sunlight is still incredibly bright. And looking at a very bright light through a telephoto lens is nothing you really would want to do. Trust me, your eyes could get severely damaged for good!

I knew I had to use some heavy dark filters on my telephoto lens, otherwise, I could forget about shooting the eclipse. I started to look for the very much needed filter but realized pretty quickly that I would have to dig deep in my pockets in case I would have to purchase one. Since I wasn't about to spend a lot of money on something I would not use much I started to search for alternatives. While asking around for solutions I got introduced to the idea to use X-ray film, which would filter the dangerous sunlight just perfectly and I would be able to look through the telephoto lens while the eclipse would happen. This was the perfect solution and ended up costing me nothing. So I was prepared to shoot my first eclipse.

When the solar eclipse finally happened, I just covered my lens with an old used piece of X-ray film. I think the film showed someone's shoulder. I taped the film material right in front of my lens. Just the way it was because I intended to give it back to the owner. Therefore no cut outs, just the whole piece secured with a piece of tape on my lens. I was all set. The dark film worked perfectly. It did convert the sky into a dark background though – obviously. When the partially solar eclipse happened, it was like when a star goes center stage with as much spotlight on as possible. The passing clouds first bothered me a bit, but after reviewing the results in post processing I found they contributed well to the scenario, made it more mystical. "La Luna" moved neatly towards the sun, closer and closer, until she could invite the sun to a little dance, My very first photo experience with a solar eclipse was exciting and stunning. The shots turned out better than expected, I'd say. 


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