Yesterday, I had a brief opportunity to grab some shots of the sun as Venus crossed its path. This celestial event happens only every one hundred years or so… the next one isn’t until 2117.
It was cloudy most of the day in Colorado, so I really didn’t plan on doing any serious shooting. Around 4:30pm local time, however, we got just enough of a break in the clouds that I figured I’d give it a shot. Looking at the sun directly through a telephoto lens is not a good idea, so I used my Singh Ray Vari ND filter cranked down to maximum darkness. Even so, I tried not to look directly into the sun through the viewfinder. I managed to get this shot:
I shot my images hand-held with my D300s and 300mm f/4 AFS Nikkor lens. You can see Venus as it begins its transit. You can also see sunspots if you look closely. The clouds returned for a while, but right before sunset I had another shooting opportunity. This time I added my TC-20EIII teleconverter to the 300mm lens, for an effective focal length of 900mm when you factor in the DX crop of the D300s.
I also experimented with compositing different exposures and using Color Efex Pro 4 to get a unique look. This shot kind of reminds me of Hubble images.