BY MELVIN AH CHING – A few weeks ago Jerry Stanfield asked me that the next time I go on one of my photo excursions, call him up. So I did for today’s partial solar eclipse of the sun.
Jerry is a Vietnam vet who has seen many good days in the photography business documenting a wide variety of subjects ranging from news, product, wedding, fashion and glamour shoots. I met him through a number of Smart Business Hawaii events (from when that organization was known as Small Business Hawaii).
We went to Kaka’ako Waterfront Park in Honolulu to shoot the eclipse. The rare, celestial event had already started by the time we arrived, but was slow to process. The sky was cloudy but hopeful.
There were several pounds of photographic equipment – digital cameras, two tripods, camera bags that we hauled up the park hills in a small cart. We worked our way up to the park’s observation summit. The cameras were set up on the tripods shortly after.
Before shooting began I passed out my home-made mylar lens filters that were supposed to slip over our lenses. The flexible mylar is a protective shield made to protect eyes when used to view the sun. I made the lens filters more than 20 years ago from sheets of mylar purchased from the Bishop Museum and fashioned them into makeshift sleeves that are placed over the lens. These were made for my old Minolta lenses that I used to shoot the solar eclipse on the Big Island in 1991.
I placed the old filter over my 300mm Canon lens… the thing fit as it did the last time I used it. However, I forgot to bring tape to keep it attached to the lens. After a few minutes of fiddling with it and also not getting the ongoing eclipse into focus, I gave that up and passed the filter to Jerry. Two other filters that I had were so small as to not even fit over my Canon T3i’s lens.
Jerry brought his Fujifilm HS-10 camera that has a built-in 720mm zoom. Wow! We found a rubber band and attached the filter that I had on the Canon to his HS-10. The rubber band made that mylar sleeve snap firmly into place over the camera lens. He was in business.
By the time we got that going and seeing the results yielded from Jerry’s camera, I decided to ditch my effort to shoot this. He did a highly commendable job in getting most of the photos shot. I resigned myself to taking the ancillary place photos of Jerry and the Kaka’ako Waterfront Park surroundings.
All of this effort was used to capture images of a solar eclipse in which the moon only covered 10% of the sun from our location in Honolulu. Viewers in parts of Asia and North America got a full-on, annular eclipse experience if they were in the right place.
The fruits of our joint effort can be seen here as well as on my Flickr website.