The Solar Annular Eclipse in Japan seen by Shadows

Today was definitely a gamble if you’re in Japan. As the moon made its way between earth and sun, for some parts of Japan, the sky was smothered with cloud cover. Fortunately it wasn’t for some places.
As millions of people bought special eye-wear over the past months to see the eclipse safely. I’d say about half of them were able to see the eclipse.

Seemed more like a money making moment by companies.

Some of the companies that make these eyewears for the annular eclipse have estimated to had made several millions in profits. I give them credit for being smart using marketing campaigns and advertisments that state that the next annular eclipse in East Asia and Japan will take place within centuries (300 years to be exact).

Type of lens filter to use for photographing solar eclipses?

As a photographer, I wanted to buy a neutral density filter (ND100000) ¬†that would allow me to take images or video of the eclipse. However, I held back on the filter because it’s not very versatile for other types of photography. I usually like to shoot landscape during the sunrise or sunset hours and the available light during those periods is already low. Buying a really dark filter would not be very useful as well as a wise investment at all. Probably the only time you can use the ND 100000 filter is for shooting directly at the sun!¬†(What I really wanted was the ND400 filter that cuts off 9 stops of light and not the ND 100000 that cuts out 10,000 stops!)

Instead of doing what the masses were doing today, I decided to stay simple by embracing nature and technology.
Therefore, I didn’t shoot directly at the sun today but I did get to experience the annular eclipse through the powerful innovation of the Android phone and the wonderful nature of leaves.

Partial eclipse seen with my android

Here’s how the trees showed me the eclipse

eclipse on the wall with the help of trees
The leaves on the trees have the same effect of a pinhole camera.

Eclipse on the wall
A closer shot of the eclipse made by the pinhole effect produced by leaves.

Eclipse on a Japanese roof tile

How it felt and looked like…

For those who want to know how it looked like during the annular eclipse here in Japan, just put your shades on during a sunny day.
It did get dark but not completely dark as night (I wish it did). It was as if a grey tint was in front of my eyes for several hours! The same stuff with the past eclipses.

Unfortunately (probable casualties because of the eclipse)

It seems that the eclipse may have claimed its first casualty. A 2 year old boy supposedly fell from a third floor balcony while looking at the eclipse. I’m quite suspicious here because how would a 2 year old even know what an eclipse is? Definitely the parents to blame here!

Also, I noticed that the radio and TV news kept warning people about viewing the sun because obviously some people don’t really protect their eyes when they view the sun. I learned that in the past, doctors have reported that some people look at the sun via their naked eye and then suffer permanent retinal damage. What’s worse is that some of them to look at the sun while they drive. The lack of common sense with some people here really amazes me sometimes.

The BEST TIP in photographing eclipses: Never view the sun through your camera’s viewfinder!

For photographers, NEVER view the eclipse through your viewfinder. The lens magnifies the the light of the sun and this will definitely kill your eyes. The way to do it is through LIVEVIEW mode on your LCD screen of your digital camera. Also, don’t forget that most ND filters are wide pass filters that only darkens the view to help you see the eclipse but doesn’t really offer any eye protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Common sense and safety always come first. Never look directly at the sun.

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