The Story of the Dangerbees Eclipse (2017)

The story begins in late June, the decision is made to make an effort to shoot the eclipse, the goal being to create a printable work.  The scope and scale is determined, we will drive 4-6 hours any direction and chase the sun. Surely, we can get to sunlight given some solid commitment.

In July, a 600/f4 AI-s is aquired, along with a TC-301

Friday (3 days to  go)

coordination between the teams, the groups, we have access, and accomodation at sites ranging from Boonville to Cameron to Joplin.

Saturday (2 days to go)

A bit further planning, but the weather is uncertain, at this point, our current available arrangements where we can have Claire entertainment, and a livable situation are Liberty MO, Smithville MO, Weston MO, St. Joseph MO, and Boonville MO.  The outlook is iffy at best, but we are hopeful (or delusional).

Sunday (night)

Everything looks pretty bad, no bright spots unless we were already 6 hours West.  Going to bed is ‘Hateful Eight’ level nervous.  The sky-cast percentages favor Lee’s Sumit MO by 2-4 percent.  At this point, this is all we have to go on, we are chasing a storm, and whatever guys at the National Weather Service or whatever are updating often.   Since everywhere is hopeless, we take the best odds we can get.  And stay home.

Monday 7AM

It’s raining.  It’s been raining a while.  Lynch arrives, we have some breakfast, and unload his gear to the basement.

Monday 10AM

We’ve committed to the optimism that somehow everything will clear for my house.  (last night and still today, we have a 3-4 percent advantage on everywhere we were considering goin to) It’s a thunderstorm, we are running our 200mm lenses with ND16 filters doing lightning shots.

10:45AM Monday

Moral is low.  The clouds surround us completely.  We have made a bet that this was ‘the’ spot to be, and it is now appearing completely delusional.  Skycast continues to waft our dreams of an eclipse shot.

11:30AM Monday

We see blue sky.  It’s still slightly sprinkling, we deploy anyways, our cameras have some kind of weather sealing, and we know this 600 has seen much worse.  Somehow, against, the greatest of odds, this is suddenly possible.  20 minutes ago, we were hopeless, consoling ourseleves that there is no-where we could have gone to escape this cloud.  The eclipse chasers we are talking to are in worse shape, they can’t see any clear sky.  And yet, there it is.  We see it, it’s going to go over us.  just a few minutes  before eclipse begins we have a clear view.

This is the Sun, with a Baader Solar filter, one of the first shots we got, eclipse has not begun at this point.
We had both rigs up and operating at this point

The above shot is a bit surprising as the abundant sunspots really only show up since there was so much cloud cover.  These pictures are not color ‘adjusted’ at all, the color difference is a result of the types of solar filter being used here.  I’ll list complete details of the equipment a bit later on.

11:41

The clouds cleared, and the eclipse began.  The absolutely tiniest part of moon is encroaching.  You can juuuuuuuuuuust see it.

Clouds persisted, for about a 1/3 of the prenumbra

I have no explanation.  The sky stayed clear. Great hope lies with us.

And here we are, the greatest conditions possible.

Clouds moved in shortly after totality.

 

Equipment used:

Rig#1

  • CST robotic/scanner style dual locking tripod
  • Homebrew adapter plate from 5/8-11 tripod mount to 3/8-16 gimbal mount
  • MOVO GH800 Gimbal
  • Nikon D600
  • Nikon 600 f/4 + TC-301 (2x teleconverter).  All shots at 1200mm f/8
  • Home made adapter plate
  • Pacific research solar film
  • Home made filter holder printed on a Prusa i3-MK2 (email me if you have a use for one, I can print you one, or send you the .stl)

Rig#2

  • surveying tripod
  • Homebrew adapter plate from 5/8-11 tripod mount to 3/8-16 gimbal mount
  • Demon Ball head
  • Nikon D600
  • Nikon 300 f/2.8 +2X TC (Kenko teleplus pro 300)
  • Baader Plaetarium solar filter.

To Everyone:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

― Theodore Roosevelt

Went on a fabulous, extravagant ski trip, took a film camera.

In this business it takes time to be really good – and by that time, you’re obsolete.  -Cher

This story begins with a roommate I had at Mizzou who used to show anyone he kind of liked his slides.   He would project them up on a Kodak projector, and they were mostly amphibians and lizards that he had photographed in his hiking travels.  He was talented, and would go on to pursue a lifelong passion of shooting nature and landscapes in exotic places.  I think, roughly then, is where this story begins.  I was fascinated by the process of this, at first, it seemed to be just a problem of equipment, but, like most passions, this is a thing that cannot be bought.

The story of me shooting film, begins some years later, when I had time and energy to devote to it.  I started with an old Pentax ME and a few lenses, and switched quickly to a well beat up Nikon F3.  7 years later, and many rolls later,  I picked up a  Nikon D40. This was a few months before Claire was born, and I’ve been digital ever since.  That was 2013.  I recently stumbled across a cache of shot and unshot film, and figured I would take a full manual film camera on a ski trip.  So, here we are.

Let me explain this picutre, my favorite.    I shot this on the far Earstern side of the mountain, on a run called St. John’s, at the top, looking out over Jackson.  The pictures on either side of that shot were both boring crap.  

The few rolls, the few moments dedicated to pure indulgence of a nonsensical viewpoint was a rewarding challenge.  An effort to get, something better than I expected, to get something through a process that you only have one (1) shot at the moment.

Film still works, it’s till workabable, and it can still be yours.