Photographer captures ‘bird trail’ against solar eclipse


Photographer Zev Hoover was filming the solar eclipse early this morning when a bird flew over the frame. He then decided to create this unusual image showing the trail of the dark-silhouetted bird against the partial annular eclipse.

Hoover, a Boston-based imaging engineer and photographer, got up at 3:30 a.m. and drove to Quincy Beach with his girlfriend, Zoe Chakoian, and coworker, Christian Lockwood, to set up his camera gear. He was taking both still photos and 4K videos with his Sony a7S III and a 1000mm refracting telescope at f / 13, and the group’s goal was to get images of the eclipsed sunrise with a Boston lighthouse in the foreground.

“Unfortunately for us in Boston, there was a dense cloud cover near the horizon,” Hoover said. PetaPixel. “We set up our equipment on the Quincy shore overlooking Boston Harbor and waited for the first light. As the sun rose, the clouds started to clear up and the sun actually made its appearance just as the eclipse was reaching its climax.

“A creepy gull has passed through my frame [at 5:35am] perfectly cut out of the Sun and Moon at that point, and I started recording on my telescope just as it passed. “

A crop of Zev Hoover’s photo showing details of the bird’s flight.

To create this “trail of birds” image, Hoover stacked footage from the video he shot.

“The processing of the image was fairly straightforward,” explains the photographer. “The consecutive video frames were statistically combined as one might do to reduce noise, but instead of averaging, I used a minimal function.

“It’s a way to include the dark-silhouetted bird in each frame against the eclipse, without doing individual masking which is both tedious and a little less authentic.”

Hoover says he feels lucky that he was able to get away from the beach with this lucky shot given that the trip initially seemed like a wasted effort due to inclement weather.

“Something about seeing the sinusoidal motion of the gull’s wings cut directly through the intersecting orbital paths of the Sun, Moon, and Earth that makes an eclipse image like this possible… strikes me as poetic. “says Hoover.

You can find more of Hoover’s work on his website, Facebook, Flickr, 500px, and Instagram.

Image credits: Photograph by Zev Hoover, Christian Lockwood and Zoe Chakoian and used with permission

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