Total Solar Eclipse Eclipse

Pictures of the 1999 Total Solar Eclipse


These pictures were taken from a field in Northern France, near Follemprise just to the North East of Rouen. Latitude 49° 45' North, Longitude 1° 18' East, pretty much on the centre line of totality. You can get a map of our location by going to a map of our location. The field we were in is at the junction of the D298 and D12.

We managed to get a pretty clear view of totality, with only some thin cloud encroaching from the West (i.e. from the Right as we viewed the sun). We abandoned our original viewing site because of the approaching clouds, and did a mad high-speed dash through the French countryside trying to get under the clear patch. We got the kit set up again with about five minutes to spare!

Equipment etc.

The main camera was a Minolta Dynax 7000i with a Sigma 70-210mm lens set to maximum zoom and a Tamron 1.4 times teleconverter. The approximate overall focal length works out at about 300mm. All this was, of course, mounted on a tripod.

The aperture of the Sigma lens was set at F8 for most of the shots, which equates overall to F11 with the teleconverter in place. The exposure changed by varying the shutter speed across a wide range.

The film was Kodak "Royal Gold" 100ASA, and the processing was a standard 1 hour service at the chemists. In 2015, I had all the negatives re-scanned using modern equipment and the images here have been updated to use the results of this. Some further digital processing has been done to reduce noise and make minor adjustments to brightness and contrast for the final images. All the images have been cropped to show only the interesting central area.

To see the main images, click on thumbnail pictures in the sections below.

Before Totality

The first image was taken through Solar Filter Film using automatic exposure, and I haven't a clue what the camera selected:

Solar Eclipse Partial Phase - pre Totality

The next two pictures were taken with the filter removed, at 1/4000" and F11 effective aperture:

Solar Eclipse Nearing Totality Solar Eclipse Nearing Totality


These first two are a bit dim - shutter speeds of 1/30" and 1/15" at F11 were a bit fast:

Total Solar Eclipse Total Solar Eclipse

Now the detail becomes gradually more visible as the exposure time increases to 1/8", 1/4", 1/2" and 1":

Total Solar Eclipse Total Solar Eclipse Total Solar Eclipse Total Solar Eclipse

These next ones show the corona quite well, but also a bit of that thin cloud becomes visible at the longest exposures of 2", 4", 2", 2" 4" and 2" again:

Total Solar Eclipse with Corona Total Solar Eclipse with Corona Total Solar Eclipse with Corona

Total Solar Eclipse with Corona Total Solar Eclipse with Prominences Total Solar Eclipse with Prominences

Now the shutter speed sweeps back down to shorter exposures of 1", 1/2", 1/4" and 1/8". This reduces the corona, but improves the views of the prominences:

Total Solar Eclipse with Prominences Total Solar Eclipse with Prominences Total Solar Eclipse Total Solar Eclipse

A Wider View

Just in case of disaster with the fancy camera, I had also set up a totally manual Russian Zorki (non-SLR) camera on the same tripod. This had a 50mm lens, so gave a much wider field of view. Exposure was pretty random and only a couple of the shots are worth publishing.

The first image here was taken during totality, the thumbnail is a bit dim but the main image really does show the eclipse:

Total Solar Eclipse - Wide Angle

This second image was taken after totality and shows that the clouds were thickening up quite rapidly:

Solar Eclipse After Totality - Wide Angle

And Finally

This was my first Total Solar Eclipse, so I am delighted to have got any pictures at all, let alone so many reasonable (IMHO) ones. No photographs can really capture the whole majesty of Totality. You really have to be there to appreciate it.

I now understand why people get "hooked" on eclipses!

If you want to explore the boundaries of science and art, then you are welcome to play with the images and incorporate them into your own creations. As an example, have a look at my own attempt at "The Art of the Total Solar Eclipse".






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The Personal Planet is maintained by Dave Wylie djwpptag David Wylie Last significant update: Sunday 13th February 2022 David J. Wylie