Category: I Will Shoot…

I had the chance to travel to Southern Utah (Kanarraville to be exact) to photograph the Great Solar Eclipse of 2012. It was spectacular, and I had as much enjoyment simply being there as I did photographing and filming the eclipse. It was fascinating watching the quality of light change over the course of the hour, with the light dimming to near-dusk levels at the peak of annularity, only to ease back to full daylight as the moon passed out of the path of the Sun. It was eery and spellbinding, and held tens-of-thousands of onlookers captive for much of that hour.

In the very first moments as the ring developed, we could hear the mob of onlookers begin to shout “It’s starting!”, or “Ring of Fire!”, or otherwise cheering and expressing their awe at the sight. It was, in a way, neat to be connected to all those perfect strangers, all gathered around for the same purpose.

The whole day was inspiring. I half imagined the Sun wanted to inspire us all with its great beauty and power even before the eclipse began. As we drove to our destination, I was able to photograph another rare celestial phenomenon. A stunning sun dog was seen for the first half of our trip, and as you’ll see in the images below, it did not disappoint. (As luck would have it, a few airline contrails appeared in about half of the sundog images, with one passing directly in front of the Sun)

Lastly, please note that all of these images are produced IN-CAMERA, meaning the duplicate Suns, the flares, and the rays are all artifacts that were created the good old fashioned way – without any digital manipulation. I used Adobe Camera Raw to process the RAW images, and of course contrast and color-correction have been applied just like Ansel Adams did back in the good ol’ day’s of silver gelatin. Other than that, these are as pure as you can get. I invite you to enjoy the small collection of images here, or see the slightly larger collection of eclipse images by clicking here. You can also see these on Instagram by following @ronadair. (If you’re not on Instagram, see the Instagramified versions here.

Please feel free to repost to sites like Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. or personal (non-commercial) blogs. Thanks!

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Geekness: Nikon D800 + 17-35mm 2.8 (sundog photos) & 70-200 2.8 VRII (eclipse images). As mentioned above, no photoshop trickery is happening in these shots — all effects are in-camera. Color and contrast tweaks have been liberally applied. Unfortunately, sundog images have not been spot-corrected for the D800 dust-spot syndrome which I discovered plagues my camera. :(

Engulfed (photos)

July 13th, 2009 Permalink

A few months back I pulled my car off a dirt road and trudged through quite a bit of brush in order to get a closer look at this fire. I was on my way home, and could see the plumes of black smoke for miles as I approached via the freeway.

I decided on a whim to get closer and see what I could see, even though I didn’t have my “real” camera with me. I met up with an amiable fellow named Thomas, and together we went fire-hunting with our iPhones. It took a lot of cutting through the willows, but eventually we did come within spitting distance to the burn.

Needless to say, it was an incredible sight. The photos don’t do it justice. I was really wishing I had a RED One with a long lens, or at least my D2X with me. The imagery, quite honestly, was breathtaking. Real, high resolution images would have been awesome, and high quality film/video would have been even better.

There were a few times that the flames were a bit too close for comfort, though for the most part we were careful not to let ourselves become surrounded. But the thing that probably struck me the most—aside from the 30-35 foot high surges—was the living nature of the flames as they collectively danced along the tops of the brush, speeding to one patch, burning, pausing, then speeding to another. The heat rose visibly off of the browning reedtops as they bowed dutifully toward the flames, being tanned by the unbearably high temperature. It was clear that these flames had a mind and will of their own, as well as the power to command nature. You can’t help but wonder how anyone would be so foolish as to take its power lightly.

As an aside, I’ve always wondered what fire is. It’s not solid, it’s not gas, it’s not liquid. It isn’t air, earth, or water. It isn’t made of particles, though it seems to produce quite a few as it burns. What is it? Its one of the few things in this world you can’t hold, but you can definitely feel. Maybe I’m way off in my assessment. For instance, maybe it’s actually a gas. I’m a photographer, not a scientist. Either way, if you can shed any light on the mystery, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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P.S. Notice the finger in the top half of shot number 3? Probably not. But that’s how I achieve manual exposure on the iPhone 3g in a high contrast scene. Not ideal, but hey, it works.

✈ Sent from my iPhone 

***All images shot and edited exclusively on the iPhone. (First image gamma adjusted in PS due to WordPress being a bit too aggressive in srgb gamma correction.)