There's an eclipse coming in a couple of weeks. I want to take lousy photos of it. But, I also want to avoid burning out my eye like an ant on the sidewalk with a magnifying glass. So, a project.
Problem: The sun is bright. Really bright. Too bright to look at. Too bright to photograph. Both eyes and cameras can be damaged by pointing them at the sun. I'll set up projection rig for most of our eclipse viewing. Its fairly easy. You duct tape a big opaque card over the front of your binoculars with a hole for one side. Then you point the binoculars at the sun and they will project a nice sized image of the sun onto a white card a few feet away. (Caution: Don't look through the binoculars!!) It takes a bit of rejiggering to get things pointed right but it does work. That way you can watch the eclipse while facing away from it -- no blindness, just a bit of eclipse-tan on the back of your neck. Huzzah!
But, of course I will want to take photos. So I need some really, really dark sunglasses for my camera.
There are a number of ways to make it safe to look at the sun. They make sunglasses for eclipse viewing. Its best to stick to companies you know for your eclipse glasses. There are cheap imitations out there that are dangerous to use. One quick spot check you can make is to put them on and look at anything but the sun. If you can see anything at all through them then they aren't dark enough.
You can buy ND filters for your camera that are made for this. They start at around 60 bucks for a screw-on ND 100000 filter and most cost more. So, I decided to try a less expensive do-it yourself alternative.
On thing you can used to safely look at the sun is the lens from a pair of shade 14 welder's goggles. The lens looks like a black glass disk but if you look through it at the sun you will see the sun as a green disk that won't set your retina on fire. Perfect!
For my project I needed the aforementioned welding goggle lens (50mm shade 14) plus a couple of step-down rings to adapt the 50mm lens to the 62mm filter size of my camera lens. Here's my kit:
And here is the mess that I made of it. Happily, epoxy fingerprints will mostly scrape off of glass with a razor blade.
As one might expect, as soon as the glue had set clouds covered the sun which didn't make an appearance for several days. But it did finally come out and I was able to snap a few photos. Here's one of them.
Saturday, May 27, 2017
I was recently reading stories on an online magazine website when an image in an advertisement caught my eye. Here it is, more or less.TinEye.com* image search engine. They will come up with a list of pages where visually similar images have appeared. You can then scroll down the list looking for a less sketchy url -- skipping clickbait-r-us.ru and the like -- until you find something that looks like an actual story. On page three of their list I found this link: Formidable biologically inspired airplanes by Al Brady So, the image is a computer generated model by a man named Al Brady who designs futuristic stuffola for use in films... or, maybe more accurately, aspires to do so since the one credit I can track down appears to be a completed-but-unreleased 2016 made-for-tv film named "This Is Heaven" for which IMDB lists a runtime of 17 minutes. So, there you go. With TinEye and option two my curiosity bump got scratched and no one died. That's better ... isn't it? * I am sure there are other similar search engines for visually-similar images but TinEye.com was the first I found and it is convenient and works well. If you prefer a different one that's lovely. Leave a comment about your favorites.