Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Looking at the Sun

The Sun behind a telephone pole

I'm an old-timer when it comes to photography, with most of my habits developed way back in the film exposure days. Although I have been using a digital camera for the past decade, I have a hard time shaking the techniques learned for an obsolete technology.

Lately, the unusually cold weather, at least for Southern California, has been weighing upon my mind. One idea that popped into my mind was whether or not the upper atmosphere would have enough ice crystals to create nice solar halos. People who live in northern climes are familiar with the phenomena of light refracted through ice, but the climate conditions don't show up that often in the Los Angeles region.

So, when running about my business, I looked up and, sure enough, I could see the circles glowing around the sun. Then, I began my quest to find a way to occlude the disk of the sun, so as to showcase the halo, earning many a green retinal burn along the way. ;-)

The sun partially obscured by a lamppost and the clouds

To be honest, I have never been much of a "Sky" photographer, especially not with a subject as difficult as the sun; give me the moon any day, or night. But repeat attempts brought out some decent images. It was a nice day for sky-gazing.

The rice blue skies, the wispy clouds, and the solar halos made for tough but engaging compositional elements. As the day progressed, I got to snap them from different angles. It was a fun project.

The upper arc of the solar halo, peeking over the top of a streetlamp

And that's when I came to a revelation. . .

I using a DIGITAL camera, which doesn't require that I put some object between the lens and the sun. There is no film to scorch. The digital filtering will allow a direct photograph of the solar halo without going through all those old-time complications.

The Sun and its solar halo

Well, I guess that I've finally become a digital photographer. ;-)

And here's some music:

"Dream On" by Aerosmith

"99 Luftballons" by Nena

"Organ Donor" by DJ Shadow


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