Annual Solar Eclipse in New Mexico

February 21, 2024  •  Leave a Comment


     I generally do not do a lot of heavy photoshop with my photography.  About 90% of my images are mostly processed or entirely processed in Lightroom.  However, one exception where a significant amount of Photoshop was necessary to create this composite image of the solar eclipse that occurred back on October 14th over Cabezon Peak in New Mexico. Cabezon Peak is located about 40 miles northwest of Albuquerque. 

     I was looking for a prominent natural feature near the path of eclipse that wouldn't have a lot people.  I opted for this ancient volcanic plug that almost looks like a miniature version of Devils Tower in Wyoming. Roughly 40 to 50 people were car camped near the trailhead that was beneath the base of the peak.  Most of them stayed near the bottom or decided to climb the steep peak for the timing of the eclipse.  I chose to hike the length of the trail that wrapped around to the north side of the peak, followed by a short off trail excursion to this vantage point.  I thought I might be the only one crazy enough with this idea but I did see a follow photographer about a 100 yards away from where I decided to plant my tripods for the eclipse. After our shooting, we chatted for a few minutes and I joked with him that great mind thinks alike!

     From this vantage point, looking to the south and southeast, I was able to incorporate the eclipsing sun that was beginning to arc over the peak.  I had to guess where the sun would approximately be during the height of the eclipse at 10:35am.  This can be a bit of a challenge when it is your first time to a location.  Ideally, I would have liked to be here the day before the event to know for sure where I should stand.  However, I made a pretty good estimate of where I wanted to be in relation to the peak.  By 10:35 in the morning, the sun is pretty high in the sky and it can be a challenge to incorporate the sun with something intriguing in the landscape.   

     The above image is a composite of 8 images.  One for the wider landscape that includes Cabezon Peak and 7 close up images of the sun at different phases during the eclipse.  For example, here is a close up of the sun at the height of the eclipse viewed with through a solar filter on the lens of my camera.  


     The 7 phases of the eclipse where then stitched together onto a single image.  

     Both the picture taking and the post processing was good practice for the upcoming total eclipse that will take place on April 8th of this year.  That path of that eclipse will go from Texas to Michigan while passing through my home state of Arkansas. Hopefully, the weather will be clear enough to fully view and photograph this!


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