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.