Sungazing / by Conor Cunningham

Now that we're past the spring equinox the sun will be appearing higher and higher in the Northern sky every day until late June. Add in some clear days and it's good news for solar observers.

At a recent meeting of Oslo based amateur astronomers the weather was on our side and allowed some cracking views of the sun.

f/20. ISO 100, 1/200 second and three strobes at 1/8th power.

I'd wanted to photograph a solar observing session. The aim was to have the observer and the sun in the frame. Of course, capturing the sun can be tricky in the middle of the day so I had to stop my camera down to f/20.

This now means that the foreground will be dark. The solution, some flashes. I used three flashes to camera left at about 1/8th power. The more flashes, the larger the light source and softer the light. My max sync speed is 1/200 so that was my shutter speed.

After some adjustment of the lighting positions I got my pic. Only a little bit of post in lightroom and the final image is above. Job done!

N.B. Never look at the sun directly with the naked eye or through any optical device unless you are using the correct equipment. I cannot overstate the importance of this. The telescope below is a highly specialised device which filters out 99.9% of the light from the sun. Consult your local amateur astronomy club for more advice.