Partial Solar Eclipse 2017 in San Diego

I guess I’m lucky to experience the third solar eclipse in my lifetime now. I lived in Germany in the path of a total solar eclipse in 1999 and in Southern California in the path of a partial annular solar eclipse in May 2012 (my photos) – and now the solar eclipse of August 2017. While not in the path of totality, I more or less spontaneously decided to still go and enjoy whatever would be visible of this solar eclipse in Southern California.

San Diego County got a peak coverage of the sun of ~58%, and I decided to hike to Garnet Peak once more, one of the exposed high points along the Laguna Crest in eastern San Diego County. It became notably cooler at the time of peak coverage, temperatures felt more like a day in spring than mid/end of August. The light’s intensity seemed to be decreased as well, but with the way our eyes adapt to changing light conditions it was hard to really tell.

A couple of other folks had hiked up there too, and together we shared the different sights and helpers to be able to view the celestial event: cardboard boxes to see a filtered image of the sun, a piece of sturdy paper with holes punched into it to see the shadow it threw turn into little eclipsed-sun shapes, and my camera images. My dog Toni also got to enjoy the event – especially when two other hikers shared their crackers with her. :-)

Sharing this moment with other, like-minded people of different ages and backgrounds was probably the best part of the whole experience!


I combined my 10-stop and 6-stop ND filters to make this photo and ended up with an exposure time of 1/200s at ISO 100 and f/11. I used my 300mm lens (longest I have) and this is a heavy crop. I used the D800’s Live View mode to manually focus because even at 300mm, the sun is still pretty small in the frame.

The sheer intensity of the sunlight still caused a faint mirror-image of the sun to appear, probably caused by the light bouncing around between the extra pieces of glass from the two combined filters. It was very faint though, and easily removed with Lightroom’s advanced healing brush. ;-)

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