Brian's Photo Blog — Article 107
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Transit of Venus Across the Sun
Wednesday 6 June 2012   —   Category: Shooting

Yesterday was a great day for heavenly bodies! In addition to the shot of the full moon I featured yesterday, the clouds cleared enough at just the right time in the afternoon for me to capture the transit of Venus across the Sun. This photo was taken from my backyard in Albany, Oregon on June 5, 2012 at 3:21 PM Pacific Time.

I used a Sony 70-​400​mm f/4-5.6 telephoto lens on my Sony α77 camera, with a Sony 2.0x teleconverter, which increased the focal length to 800mm. Because this camera uses an APS-C sensor, the 35mm-equivalent focal length is actually 1.5 times longer, which ends up being 1200mm!

For the camera settings, I used an aperture of f/64 with a shutter speed of 1/2500 of a second, an ISO of 50, and an exposure bias of -1 EV. I also had a polarizing filter on the lens to somewhat reduce the intensity of the light. This photo is cropped, but not too much. Because of the 1200mm effective focal length, the sun was big enough to fill up nearly half the height of the frame! Above is a 100%-magnification, actual-pixel-size section of the sun with the silhouette of Venus.

There were quite a bit of clouds coming and going — sometimes there was full sun, and other times the sun was totally obscured. The clouds were actually a benefit, because they filtered the brightness of the sunlight somewhat, and added dramatic effect. No doubt camera technology will have improved quite a bit by the time the next transit of Venus occurs 105 years from now in 2117!
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 107
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Brian's Photo Blog — Article 107
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