Total Eclipse of the Sun

September 3, 2017 at 4:02 pm (Nature, Nature photography, Night Sky, Photography, Time-lapse, Video) (, , , , )

Solar eclipse as viewed from the Rowe Audubon Sanctuary along the banks of the Platte River, Gibbon, Nebraska, August 21. I used a Nikon D750 with an 80-400mm lens for the stills and the video of the eclipse’s ending, and a Nikon D600 and Canon SX60 for landscape videos. A solar filter was used on the lens prior to totality.

Since I live a day’s drive from the path of totality of the solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, I decided to make the trip to near Kearney, Nebraska to see what may be a once-in-a-lifetime event.

I chose the Rowe Audubon Sanctuary in nearby Gibbon because I had visited it in March to view another amazing natural event – the migration of hundreds of thousands of sandhill cranes. I was surprised that so many people were gathering in predetermined places as if to watch a sporting event. Park for $10, enjoy the food concessions, buy souvenirs, etc.


Since there were thousands of square miles available for viewing the totality, I couldn’t understand this mindset. Fortunately, only a handful of people had the same idea I had, including my brother and his family. I wanted to experience the total eclipse in its natural state, without a bunch of hoo-hah folks around ruining the soundscape. And this was already a special place for me.

I set up two video cameras in a blind, and stood just outside with a clear view of the sun. Using the prescribed solar filter, I recorded the progress of the moon as it “took a bite” out of the sun. When totality occurred, the filter came off, and I recorded the first half in stills, and the second half in video.

Here’s the video from all three cameras:

Three things struck me about this eclipse.

First, I thought it would be dark as night. Instead it was as if the last light of dusk was at the horizon, with a dark blue sky above.

Second, it reminded me of the annular eclipse I had witnessed in Maine in 1995, the way the light looked as if a window tint had been placed over the sun. You could tell it was sunny and the shadows were distinct, but there was a strange dimness. The sun dappling the leaf shadows on the ground took on the shape of the sun’s crescent, becoming thinner as totality approached. (During the annular eclipse, the leaf shadows were donut shaped!)

Third, looking with the naked eye at the ebony disc of the moon surrounded by its sun halo was one of the most bizarre experiences I’ve had in nature. I can understand why this would have spooked primitive peoples.

One thing I didn’t take into account was the traffic jam on I-80 following the eclipse. I had made airline reservations six weeks earlier to fly from Omaha to Seattle to visit family. Speed for 150 miles averaged 35mph, meaning I was about 30 minutes too late for my flight. They were all booked for the next day, and I had to pay an extra $250 and two nights in a Motel 6. Grrrrrr…

But, the Seattle visit was a great one, and the experience of the eclipse was A. MAZE. ING. Especially because my brother, his wife and my niece were able to experience it, too.

Next one: April 8, 2014. Mark your calendars!

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

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Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Simple Tips to Better Photography

August 1, 2015 at 12:06 pm (Bird photography, Black-and-White Photography, Colorado, Colorado birds, Dinosaur National Monument, fine art photography, Infrared Photography, National Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Time-lapse, Video, Wildflowers, Wildlife) (, , , )

Sunset at Mid-Hills campground

Visual Poetry

When I was an interpretive park ranger at Dinosaur National Monument last summer, I created a photography program to give amateur photographers ideas on how to improve their vacation photos.  The “Simple Tips to Better Photography” was a non-technical tutorial on the art of seeing. With today’s do-it-all-for-you digital cameras, most of the technical stuff is already done by the camera, and often done quite well.

But what snapshooters need to learn most is what I call visual poetry.  They need to learn how to make a compelling photograph.  Too many people don’t use their telephoto lenses to their best advantage, and that is one of the most important tools they have to capture the compelling part of the photograph.

Although this presentation is focused on landscape and nature photography, the same can be said about photographing people.

I began my presentation with a discussion about visual poetry, adapted for general audiences: Read the rest of this entry »

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Stars 1, Satellite 1, Meteors 0

August 13, 2014 at 7:35 am (Nature, Nature photography, Night Sky, Photography, Time-lapse)


Satellite streaking through the stars in 15 second exposure

I went to the High Uintas in Utah (north of Vernal) to watch the Perseid meteor shower.  The moon rose an hour after sunset so I thought I might have a chance before its brilliant light washed out the visibility.   I did several hours’ worth of time lapse photographs to capture any that might streak by.  Zip.  Nada.  I did catch a satellite though.

See the stars move through the sky – 50 minutes in 22 seconds

Dusk settles on Spirit Lake, the stars appear, then the moonlight tints the lake and trees onshore.

Text and photographs copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share


Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

Original hand-painted BW photographs for sale:  Etsy

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Contact:  cindy at

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