Solar Eclipse Skydiving

North Carolina Resident Will Skydive During Solar Eclipse

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On August 21, Don Carrington has scheduled a skydive with friends in Raleigh, North Carolina, to coincide with the first total solar eclipse in nearly 100 years.

“I wanted to see the eclipse anyway,” said Carrington, who works as a reporter for the Carolina Journal in Raleigh. “When I figured out a plan that made sense to me, I talked to the other guys and they said, ‘We’re in.’ I get to see the eclipse, skydive during it, and hopefully will have some good pictures and video also.”

According to NASA, “On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights – a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere – the corona – can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk.”

Carrington and his friends will travel to the Greenwood County Airport, 40 miles south of Greenville, South Carolina, to undertake their jump.

Carrington, who has been skydiving before, hopes to capture the eclipse on camera, though getting just the right shot is complicated

Given that the eclipse at Greenwood County Airport is scheduled for 2:40 p.m., Carrington calculates that he will need to be at a 60-degree angle at the time to shoot his friends in the path of the eclipsed sun.

The three skydivers will deploy their parachutes at 10,000 feet, allowing them to fall for eight to nine minutes.

Carrington will be equipped with GoPro cameras, as well as a Cannon that will be secured to his helmet. One of the challenges will be ensuring that he has enough light to capture the skydive during the eclipse.

Despite his job as a reporter, Carrington is not looking to make news with his photographs.

“I’ll probably put them on Facebook,” he said. “If it’s something really cool, I’ll share it a couple different spots. I have a couple visions of what I can maybe get, if we line everything up.”

Photographer Babak Tafreshi has first-hand knowledge of shooting a solar eclipse. He captured his first one, which lasted only 14-seconds in 1995, near the border of Iran and Afghanistan.

“I had a long list of tasks for totality, but when it arrived I was just a caveman shivering at the power of nature. I only clicked the shutter once,” Tafreshi said.

Tafreshi has shared his own advice for photographing an eclipse.

“I will look for places near the beginning or the end of the path where totality happens after sunrise or before sunset. I might aim for telescopic images, then somewhere less windy with reliable weather is ideal. Wide-field imaging allow you to rush out of bad weather even an hour before eclipse (traffic dependent), but with the telescope set-up this is not doable.

“Focus is the main challenge during totality since the light wouldn’t be enough for autofocusing. Try to find apps that control the camera focus and set it manually at infinity. Some smartphone cameras make a few seconds of exposure for night imaging but they need to be installed on a tripod or a platform. Instead of spending the entire two minutes playing with your smartphone, enjoy the eclipse!” he said.

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