Tuesday June 5, 2012 – The sky was overcast all day in central Ohio, and I was beginning to think that I was not going to get a look at the Transit of Venus. Given that the next transit would not be until 2117 when I would be the ripe old age of 165, I was really hoping the sky would clear! Unless medical science finds a way to prolong the human lifespan significantly, I don’t think I’ll be around to see it in 2117! First contact was to begin at 6:05 p.m. Eastern Daylight time and a friend of mine and I planned to meet at a location with a clear view of the western horizon we had picked out. At 6:30 p.m. there were still thick clouds at our location, but we could see clearing to the north of us. We decided to move north and after driving 20 miles we had clear skies over us. We quickly set up our tripods and camera’s and started shooting.
To “safely” view and photograph the sun, special filters are needed. I used a B+W 3.0 (10 stop light reduction) neutral density filter and a B+W UV/IR blocking filter. Using these filters, the image above was made with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR, Canon 300mm f/4 IS L lens plus a Canon 1.4x extender for an effective focal length of 420mm. Exposure was 1/3200 sec, at f/11, ISO 100. The second image below was made using a Canon 100-400mm f/4.5 – 5.6 IS L lens plus a Canon 1.4x extender for an effective focal length of 560mm. The exposure for this image was also 1/3200 sec at f/11, ISO 100. Some high thin clouds drifted by which gave the image a bit of a mysterious look.
Unfortunately some thick clouds came back and prevented us from watching the transit at sunset, but we didn’t complain since we felt very fortunate to see the transit at all. Watching the transit was a special experience that I will never forget. I’m glad I made the effort to go out and see it, even when it did look like sky would be clear enough.