Partial Solar Eclipse in San Francisco

A few years ago I experienced an annular eclipse in Redding, CA (link). This was really spectacular and it was the first solar eclipse I had ever seen. Today’s partial solar eclipse was not that high up on the scale but I didn’t want to miss it. It was a bit foggy here in San Francisco, but eventually the sun burned most of the fog layer off so we could see the eclipse.

Partially Eclipsed Sun
Partially Eclipsed Sun

The dark spot in the middle of the sun is a sunspot called Active Region 2192. Phil Plait has plenty to say about it.

My original idea was to have the eclipse around Coit Tower. But since the sun was still very high in the sky during the middle of the afternoon, it didn’t work out. So the next best thing was the Transamerica Pyramid.

Transamerica Tower with Partially Eclipsed Sun
Transamerica Tower with Partially Eclipsed Sun

To capture the bright sun I used a solar filter in front of my lens. It lets 1/1,000th of 1% of the light through (~17 stops) and has a slight yellow-orange color cast which works well for the sun. With such a strong filter, everything but the sun is more or less dark. That’s why the Transamerica Pyramid in the above image is all dark although the picture was taken in the middle of the day.

The next image is a composite. I took the first image while the sun was behind the Transamerica Tower and without the solar filter and the second image when the sun was in full view again. Then I merged the two different exposures together.

Transamerica Tower with Partially Eclipsed Sun
Transamerica Tower with Partially Eclipsed Sun

All images were taken with a Nikon D800, a 70-200mm lens, a 2x teleconverter and a solar filter. The first image is cropped to show more details






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