What I Learnt From Capturing My First Total Solar Eclipse

What I Learnt From Capturing My First Total Solar Eclipse

Last week I made the long trip from the UK to Chile in the hopes of capturing my first total solar eclipse. I had experienced a cloudy total solar eclipse from the UK in 1999 but back then I was just 9 years old and certainly no photographer. Now that I’m apparently a professional landscape astrophotographer, a total solar eclipse was a gaping hole in my portfolio. 

Total solar eclipses are of course a rare event. They occur once every 18 months on average but totality can only be seen from a thin and short path each time. On top of that, there will inevitably be eclipses ruined by bad weather and eclipses that occur in locations difficult to reach, such as the 4 December 2021 eclipse that passes through Antarctica. As such, people who are experienced in photographing total solar eclipses are few and far between and although I have only now captured just one myself, I’d still like to share what I learnt from it. 

Is a campervan the best way to chase the aurora in Iceland?

Is a campervan the best way to chase the aurora in Iceland?

Back in 2017 a friend and I packed our cameras, hired a CampEasy campervan and hit up the classic photography locations of Iceland’s southern coast. From Snaefellsness to Hofn and back to Reykjavik, we slept under the stars and northern lights and woke up next to glaciers, beaches, mountains and volcanoes. We were constantly at the helm of the rugged weather but at one with the landscape and the freedom to relocate was so liberating. It was so good, I wanted to do it again.

Perseids 2016: A night of moonlight, Milky Way, and meteors gallore

Perseids 2016: A night of moonlight, Milky Way, and meteors gallore

I was refreshing the weather forecast hoping for some kind of miracle. Metoffice, Brecon Beacons… cloudy. Elan Valley… cloudy. Pembrokeshire? Cloudy. Oh why not, Snowdonia… cloudy. 

After only catching a few meteors the night before it looked like Wales was going to miss the peak of the Perseids meteor shower 2016. And what a show it was forecast to be, with astronomers pointing towards an ‘outburst’ – nearly twice the average rates with almost 200 meteors per hour!

The most nerve-racking photo I ever took…

The most nerve-racking photo I ever took…

I’ve never felt so simultaneously anxious, excited, frantic, elated, pressured and exhilarated in my entire life! Adell had hoofed it up Corn Du (873m) meaning she had to wait a long 45 minutes in the cold blistering wind whilst I sludged around marsh land about 2km west of her up on Y Gyrn. I was trying to get myself into the precise position to capture the moon rising behind her, with an error margin of just a couple of metres.