Ecliptic Visions—with Rebecca Boyle, Gabriel Biderman, Atlas Obscura & B&H

03/14/2024Link0

Where will you be on April 8, 2024? If you don’t already know, you’d better figure it out fast, particularly if you’ve got an interest in observing—and ideally photographing—the awe-inspiring phenomenon of a total solar eclipse.

To get you up to speed on essential eclipse details, tune in to our chat with science writer Rebecca Boyle and Gabriel Biderman from B&H’s Road Marketing team. Boyle shares tidbits about Earth’s silvery sister, gleaned from research for her book Our Moon, while Biderman discusses preparations (and practice!) for your eclipse photo session, plus strategies for juggling multiple setups.

To celebrate the total eclipse from 2017, B&H teamed up with Atlas Obscura for a two-day festival in Eastern Oregon’s Snake River Valley. This year, the party’s expanding from two to four days! We end the episode with details about the 2024 Ecliptic Festival, held alongside the Valley of Vapors music festival in Hot Springs, Arkansas, smack in the Eclipse’s umbra.

Immerse yourself in this rare astronomical occurrence while rubbing shoulders with celebrated scientists, legendary musicians, artists, and photographers galore, plus benefit from dedicated space—and tools—for star gazing and tracking the path to totality and back. The sky’s the limit!

Guests: Rebecca Boyle & Gabriel Biderman

Above photograph © Gabriel Biderman

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Detailed image of the sun before first contact, 2017 solar eclipse. FUJIFILM X-T2, 100-400 lens @400mm, with a Lee solar filter.
Detailed image of the sun before first contact, 2017 solar eclipse. FUJIFILM X-T2, 100-400 lens @400mm, with a Lee solar filter.
First contact of the moon and sun. 2018 solar eclipse, Idaho. FUJIFILM X-T2, 100-400 lens @400mm, with a Lee solar filter.
First contact of the moon and sun. 2018 solar eclipse, Idaho. FUJIFILM X-T2, 100-400 lens @400mm, with a Lee solar filter.
Biderman got halfway through the eclipse without needing to adjust his settings of 1/250 sec., f/8, ISO 800. FUJIFILM X-T2, 100-400mm lens @400, with a Lee solar filter.
Biderman got halfway through the eclipse without needing to adjust his settings of 1/250 sec., f/8, ISO 800. FUJIFILM X-T2, 100-400mm lens @400, with a Lee solar filter.
Perfect crescent solar eclipse. Even with 85% of the sun covered, no adjustment to settings is needed. 1/250 sec, f/8, ISO 800. FUJIFILM X-T2, 100-400 lens @400mm, with a Lee solar filter.
Perfect crescent solar eclipse. Even with 85% of the sun covered, no adjustment to settings is needed. 1/250 sec, f/8, ISO 800. FUJIFILM X-T2, 100-400 lens @400mm, with a Lee solar filter.
Totality. Biderman’s first shot of totality and the Bailey Beads.
Totality. Biderman’s first shot of totality and the Bailey Beads.
Totality and the Sun’s corona starts to appear. Part of a bracket of 7 shots made with settings of 1/60 sec, f/22, ISO 800. FUJIFILM X-T2, 100-400 lens @300mm (no solar filter).
Totality and the Sun’s corona starts to appear. Part of a bracket of 7 shots made with settings of 1/60 sec, f/22, ISO 800. FUJIFILM X-T2, 100-400 lens @300mm (no solar filter).
An overexposed shot of totality to capture as much of the sun’s corona as possible. Even at 2 seconds the eclipse is acceptably sharp. Part of a bracket of 7 shots made with settings of 2 sec., f/22, ISO 400. FUJIFILM X-T2, 100-400 lens @300mm (no solar filter).
An overexposed shot of totality to capture as much of the sun’s corona as possible. Even at 2 seconds the eclipse is acceptably sharp. Part of a bracket of 7 shots made with settings of 2 sec., f/22, ISO 400. FUJIFILM X-T2, 100-400 lens @300mm (no solar filter).
A blended HDR shot of 7 bracketed images made from 2 sec. to 1/30 sec. to capture the extended corona plus highlights of the eclipse (no solar filter).
A blended HDR shot of 7 bracketed images made from 2 sec. to 1/30 sec. to capture the extended corona plus highlights of the eclipse (no solar filter).
One of Biderman’s favorite single images, which balances an extended corona with minimal blown out highlights. Exposure settings: 1/2 sec., f/22, ISO 400. FUJIFILM X-T2 and 100-400 lens @300mm (no solar filter).
One of Biderman’s favorite single images, which balances an extended corona with minimal blown out highlights. Exposure settings: 1/2 sec., f/22, ISO 400. FUJIFILM X-T2 and 100-400 lens @300mm (no solar filter).
Seconds before the Diamond Ring and the end of the total solar eclipse. Part of a bracket of 7 shots for detail of the Bailey Beads and extended corona. Note the solar flare bubbling behind the moon. Settings: 1/250 sec., f/22, ISO 400. FUJIFILM X-T2, 100-400 lens @300mm (no solar filter).
Seconds before the Diamond Ring and the end of the total solar eclipse. Part of a bracket of 7 shots for detail of the Bailey Beads and extended corona. Note the solar flare bubbling behind the moon. Settings: 1/250 sec., f/22, ISO 400. FUJIFILM X-T2, 100-400 lens @300mm (no solar filter).
The Ring of Fire from the 2023 annular eclipse. Settings: 1/30 sec., f/8, ISO 2000. Nikon Z8, 100-400 lens @400mm.
The Ring of Fire from the 2023 annular eclipse. Settings: 1/30 sec., f/8, ISO 2000. Nikon Z8, 100-400 lens @400mm.
Biderman’s favorite close-up shot of the 2017 total solar eclipse. He purposely used a small aperture of f/22 to heighten flare from the Diamond Ring. Settings: 1/15 sec., f/22, ISO 400. FUJIFILM X-T2, 100-400 lens @300mm.
Biderman’s favorite close-up shot of the 2017 total solar eclipse. He purposely used a small aperture of f/22 to heighten flare from the Diamond Ring. Settings: 1/15 sec., f/22, ISO 400. FUJIFILM X-T2, 100-400 lens @300mm.
Close-up of 2017 solar eclipse in Idaho. Biderman shot the image wide and then blended eclipse phases together in Photoshop.
Close-up of 2017 solar eclipse in Idaho. Biderman shot the image wide and then blended eclipse phases together in Photoshop.
Wide-angle composite showing 2023 annular eclipse phases at Capitol Reef National Park. Foreground landscape was made before the sun rose over the mountain. Biderman processed the foreground with a slight silver tint, as he saw it during the annular phase.
Wide-angle composite showing 2023 annular eclipse phases at Capitol Reef National Park. Foreground landscape was made before the sun rose over the mountain. Biderman processed the foreground with a slight silver tint, as he saw it during the annular phase.
Wide-angle composite showing 2023 annular eclipse phases at Capitol Reef National Park. Foreground image was made at the end of the eclipse and included for a more realistic lighting scenario.
Wide-angle composite showing 2023 annular eclipse phases at Capitol Reef National Park. Foreground image was made at the end of the eclipse and included for a more realistic lighting scenario.
Try something different. For this image, Biderman combined a “Zoomed” image of the 2023 annular eclipse with the foreground.
Try something different. For this image, Biderman combined a “Zoomed” image of the 2023 annular eclipse with the foreground.
This wide-angle composite of all eclipse phases also includes the landscape where Biderman enjoyed the epic event.
This wide-angle composite of all eclipse phases also includes the landscape where Biderman enjoyed the epic event.
Self Portrait during the 2017 total solar eclipse.
Self Portrait during the 2017 total solar eclipse.
Self Portrait during the 2023 annular solar eclipse.
Self Portrait during the 2023 annular solar eclipse.
National Parks at Night group portrait during the 2023 annular solar eclipse at Capitol Reef National Park.
National Parks at Night group portrait during the 2023 annular solar eclipse at Capitol Reef National Park.
Rebecca Boyle on location at the Atacama Large Millimeter/Sub-millimeter Array, Atacama Desert, Chile. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Boyle
Rebecca Boyle on location at the Atacama Large Millimeter/Sub-millimeter Array, Atacama Desert, Chile. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Boyle
Rebecca Boyle head shot. Photo © Randall Kahn
Rebecca Boyle head shot. Photo © Randall Kahn
Book cover for Our Moon: How Earth’s Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution and Made Us Who We Are, by Rebecca Boyle.
Book cover for Our Moon: How Earth’s Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution and Made Us Who We Are, by Rebecca Boyle.

Episode Timeline:

  • 4:56: The most surprising discovery Boyle made about the moon during her book research, the backstory to the origins of the moon and the earth, plus the cosmic coincidence of a total solar eclipse.
  • 16:40: The changing distance between the earth and the moon, super moons and micro moons, and two different types of eclipses.
  • 22:09: The path of totality for the upcoming solar eclipse, its two parts: the umbra and the penumbra, the double-dutch phenomenon of its position in the sky, eclipse chasers (or umbraphiles), plus the atmospheric effects, silvery light, and dappled crescent reflections of a total solar eclipse.
  • 28:34: What to look for when star gazing through a telescope, alternative options for viewing the eclipse through a telescope, plus solar glasses and safety issues when viewing the eclipse.
  • 33:06: The passage of the Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks around the time of the eclipse, imagining an eclipse from space, plus the moon’s extended 2-week cycle of daytime and night.
  • 36:34: Episode Break
  • 37:13: Photo gear and a go-to set up for eclipse shots, two primary ways to document the eclipse—close up with a telephoto and environmental with a wide-angle lens, best practices for solar filters, plus creative considerations for getting unique images.
  • 41:15: Strategies for juggling two rigs to capture both an overview and a close-up, tips for using trackers and gimbals, and most important: be sure to practice with the equipment you want use in the place you want to be.
  • 45:52: The longest shutter speed to still allow sharp pictures, the benefits to bracketing and overexposures, plus Biderman’s favorite eclipse picture showing maximum flare with the diamond ring effect.
  • 52:13: Tips for using a smart phone during the eclipse—document the environment in video mode, plus the otherworldly light that accompanies the eclipse.
  • 56:37: Details about Atlas Obscura’s Ecliptic Festival, Boyle’s scheduled talk and guided star gazing with B&H, B&H’s dedicated area for shooting and experiencing the eclipse and the heavens, plus special B&H guests astronomy expert Forest Chaput and Susan Magnano making luminous portraits.
  • 1:02:17: Boyle’s thoughts about renewed interest and activity in lunar exploration and the idea of a second nascent lunar arms race, plus the many nations involved in lunar missions.

Guest Bios:

As a journalist, Rebecca Boyle has reported from particle accelerators, genetic sequencing labs, bat caves, the middle of a lake, the tops of mountains, and the retractable domes of some of Earth’s largest telescopes. Her first book, OUR MOON: How Earth’s Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us Who We Are is a new history of humanity’s relationship with the Moon, which Boyle has not yet visited on assignment.

Based in Colorado Springs, CO, Boyle is a contributing editor at Scientific American, a contributing writer at Quanta Magazine and The Atlantic, and a columnist at Atlas Obscura. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Smithsonian Air & Space, and Popular Science. Her work has appeared in Wired, MIT Technology Review, Nature, Science, Popular Mechanics, New Scientist, Audubon, Distillations, and many other publications.

The recipient of multiple writing awards throughout her career, Boyle’s work has also been anthologized in the Best American Science and Nature Writing series. As a daily newspaper reporter, Boyle has interviewed Presidents and presidential candidates, state and local lawmakers, and covered major criminal court cases. She got her start in a small newsroom; however, attending Space Camp in 6th grade is really what set the course of her career.

Gabriel Biderman is a self-taught travel and fine art photographer who has been exploring night photography for more than 20 years. A key member of the B&H road marketing team, he is also a co-founder of National Parks at Night, a leading source for night photography education and hands-on workshops since 2015. He has also taught night photography online with Creative Live, B&H, and at various trade shows, schools, and institutions since 2008. His work has been exhibited in New York, London, San Francisco and Hawaii, and he is co-author of the book Night Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots.

Stay Connected:

Atlas Obscura Ecliptic Festival: https://ecliptic.atlasobscura.com/
Atlas Obscura Website: https://www.atlasobscura.com/
Rebecca Boyle Website: https://rebeccaboyle.com/
Rebecca Boyle Our Moon book: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/
Rebecca Boyle’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/by.rebecca.boyle/
Rebecca Boyle’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/rboyle31
Rebecca Boyle’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rboyle31/
Gabriel Biderman’s Website: https://www.ruinism.com/
National Parks at Night Website: https://www.nationalparksatnight.com/
National Parks at Night’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nationalparksatnight/
National Parks at Night’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/natlpksatnight
National Parks at Night’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nationalparksatnight
National Parks at Night’s YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/NationalParksatNight
Panasonic Lumix Cameras: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/browse/panasonic-digital-photography/ci/6090


Host: Allan Weitz
Senior Creative Producer: Jill Waterman
Senior Producer: Mike Weinstein
Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner

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