Partial Solar Eclipse with 747


In the late 1980's Vancouver and much of western North America experienced a partial eclipse of the sun (becoming an annular eclipse in Mexico). The Vancouver area is treated to these events on a fairly regular basis, unfortunately this was the last one for about ten years. During a previous partial eclipse, we drove out to the west facing shore about a half hour from our home. We used a very small aperture and some carefully placed clouds instead of a proper solar filter (which we now have). We were somewhat lucky that neither of us were blinded and the groundglass in our Nikon F4 camera didn't melt!

We couldn't really see the image in the camera, we just made a series of exposures. It was only after the film was developed (we do most of our own development, but we don't process Kodachrome) that we saw a plane that probably had just taken off from the International airport had made an excellent composition with the eclipse in the background. The profile of the plane is clearly that of a Boeing 747.

Kodachrome 200 film was used with a 1200mm lens (a 600mm lens with a TC300 2X teleconverter) at f64 for this image. The shutter speed wasn't recorded, but it was short! We were using the camera's exposure bracketing feature and consequently we have two similar images to this one. In this one the plane is the furthest to the right and although the other two have better exposures, this one has the best composition.