Partial Solar Eclipse at Lake Bolac


Partial Solar Eclipse at Lake Bolac

Canon 5D Mark II, 300mm lens and 2x converter, 1/250 sec ISO100

The weather forecast could hardly have been worse for Tuesday 29th April 2014. Rain was forecast across Victoria with the models all showing a huge cloud band across the state and pretty much anywhere the eclipse was visible. But there was hope. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology's cloud forecast model suggested a sharp end to the frontal cloud band with clear sky behind it. That was enough to get us eclipse chasers going, as we carefully chose between heading west to find clear sky but not too far or we'd miss out on seeing eclipse action at sunset. Colin Legg and Alex Cherney headed to the coast along the Great Ocean Road but I decided to stay a little closer to home and opted for the shore of Lake Bolac. I was also more than a little worried about strong winds along the coast which don't mix well with high-resolution imaging, but it was pretty wild when I arrived at Lake Bolac too.

Canon 1100D with 200mm lens, 1/4000 sec f32 ISO100

It was mid-eclipse before I first got a glimpse of the sun, and things still looked pretty dire at that point. I'd left a few important things at home (including my phone) but cobbled together a tripod and two equatorial mounts imaging at focal lengths of 200mm, 600mm and 1800mm. The sun stayed behind solid cloud but there was some brightening on the horizon so I hoped I might catch somthing at the end. It was frantic final few minutes as the sun slid below the bank of cloud and then behind the trees and below the horizon. Only a few of the bracketed exposure sequences worked out but I was pleased to capture something like what I envisioned might be possible from this site.

 Canon 6D, Takahashi FS-102 with extender and teleconverter (1800mm focal length), 1/125 sec ISO100

A few minutes after sunset while I was still trying to capture images in the fading light, it started to rain and so the rush began to get all the gear in the car before driving two hours back home again. All in a day's work for an eclipse chaser!

Comparison of forecast clouds with actual infra-red satellite image 6pm local time - 15 minutes after sunset Red dot marks my observing location at Lake Bolac

1 Comment

Hi Phil,
Tanya Hill sent out an email which included a link. Under the circumstances you still took amazing pictures Phil, good work.

The last close up image had me imagining the search lights from some alien space craft hovering above the ground, quite eerie...)