PetaPixel

Photographer Captures Detailed Photos of the Sun From His Backyard

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Alan Friedman of Buffalo, New York is an amateur astrophotography enthusiast who captures amazing photographs of the Sun through a telescope in his backyard. His highly detailed photographs show the sun in ways you never see with your naked eye. Using special filters that allow the photos to be captured without destroying his camera or his eyes, Friedman creates images of our life-giving star that look more like something you might see under a microscope.

In his artist statement for the work, Friedman writes,

My photographs comprise a solar diary, portraits of a moment in the life of our local star. Most are captured from my backyard in Buffalo, NY. Using a small telescope and narrow band filters I can capture details in high resolution and record movements in the solar atmosphere that change over hours and sometimes minutes.

The raw material for my work is black and white and often blurry. As I prepare the pictures, color is applied and tonality is adjusted to better render the features. It is photojournalism of a sort. The portraits are real, not painted. Aesthetic decisions are made with respect for accuracy as well as for the power of the image.

Friedman says that the filter (called a Hydrogen Alpha filter) he uses blocks everything but a very narrow slice of the deep red end of the visible spectrum. After attaching the filter to the front of his 3 1/2-inch telescope (the equivalent of a 450mm f/5 telephoto lens), he uses an industrial webcam to capture the photos. The camera can capture images at 15fps to 120fps.

Our atmosphere is a formidable obstacle to capturing sharp photos of a distant object. Streaming many frames in a short period of time allows me to temper the blurring effects of air turbulence. Each photo is made from many thousands of frames. Most frames are unusable, distorted by the heat currents rising from rooftops and asphalt driveways. But a few will be sharp. I review the video frame by frame for these moments of “good seeing.” The high quality frames are selected and then averaged to form the raw material for my photographs.

Without further ado, here’s a small gallery of some of Friedman’s finest work:

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Zooming in a little closer, we get to see the details of the ejections:

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Here’s the telescope Friedman for the images. He calls it Little Big Man:

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If you’re at all interested in this work, be sure to watch this TED Talk Friedman gave last year regarding it:

Head on over to his website and his Tumblr page if you’re like to see more of his images and (and higher-res versions of the ones seen here).

Alan Friedman | Averted Imagination (via Colossal)


Image credits: Photographs by Alan Friedman and used with permission


 
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  • Sean McCann

    Really cool work.

  • Mantis

    Amazing images.
    If I didn’t know better I would have thought these were photos of bacteria shot throught a microscope.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    love the Venus transit photograph <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/makofoto Mako Koiwai

    You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen 3D video close-ups of the Sun’s surface … courtesy of JPL and their Open House

  • http://dsmithgalleries.com/ David Smith

    Fantastic work here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jared.monkman.5 Jared Monkman

    I thought the same thing!

  • Al

    Love the pictures and love the video. Excellent work. Thanks for sharing

  • Brixton

    I don’t understand why they keep calling these photographers “amateur.”

  • reborn

    I did not know that Indiana Jones had this hobby.

  • quickpick

    at first it looked like an ovum to me! stunning photography, huge respect!

  • Will

    Because they don’t get paid?

  • http://www.facebook.com/leoabreuphoto Leonardo Abreu

    Made by God.

  • muddyclouds

    I agree. I’m starting to think the movie ‘Horton Hears a Who!’ actually is on to something..

  • http://www.dvphoto.co.uk Vaughaag

    Utterly Amazing!

  • WantMy20MinBack

    This guy keeps going on and on and on.. what is the point. We get it, you got famous and you are an amateur, enough with the back patting – are you going to tell us something besides how surprised you were at your own success?

  • http://www.facebook.com/adam.boulton.71 Adam Boulton

    Idiot. You obviously missed the entire point of the video.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=691629204 Alex Polanco

    As above, so below :)

  • Guest

    To see this live is an icredible exirience , i have a Coronado spt and i can see the sun very similiar to this… THIS IMAGES ARE INCREDIBLE!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS , GREAT JOB. I HAD SOM SUN SHOOTS WITH A CELL PHONE AND THE TELESCOPE. HERE , BUT NOTHING CLOSE TO THIS GREAT IMAGES.

  • Guest

    this live is an icredible exirience , i have a Coronado spt and i can see the sun very similiar to this… THIS IMAGES ARE INCREDIBLE!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS , GREAT JOB. I HAD SOM SUN SHOOTS WITH A CELL PHONE AND THE TELESCOPE. BUT NOTHING CLOSE TO THIS GREAT IMAGES.

  • Guest

    TOo see this live is an icredible exirience , i have a Coronado spt and i can see the sun very similiar to this… THIS IMAGES ARE INCREDIBLE!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS , GREAT JOB. I HAD SOM SUN SHOOTS WITH A CELL PHONE AND THE TELESCOPE. BUT NOTHING CLOSE TO THIS GREAT IMAGES.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=540477815 Manuel E. Grullon

    TO see this live is an incredible inexperience , i have a Coronado spt and i can see the sun very similar to this… THIS IMAGES ARE INCREDIBLE!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS , GREAT JOB. I HAD SOME SUN SHOOTS WITH A CELL PHONE AND THE TELESCOPE. BUT NOTHING CLOSE TO THIS GREAT IMAGES.

  • BevP

    In the second close-up shot (first vertical shot), the solar emission looks like a cartoon Scottie dog! These images are amazing.

  • http://twitter.com/hector_he hector

    Awesome! I admire the dedication of this person, looks like a very hard work! The result is complete insane, very beautiful pictures!

  • http://eziz.annagurban.com/ Eziz

    Nothing wrong with being an amateur. It doesn’t downgrade your work. Some amateurs programmers who contribute to open-source projects are better than some professional programmers.

  • mylkas

    I think is not the sun

  • Nipun Ambastha

    Amazing, haven’t seen such images from long time.
    Great work man

  • Peter mac

    Absolutely beautiful. Big shivers down my spine. Well done Zmr Friedman

  • dvdrat

    That telescope mount is probably 10s of thousands of dollars. This guy is a serious astrophotographer and the results speak for themshelves. Nice work!

  • Marlene Wilkes

    If you think Glenn`s story is impressive…, won weak-ago my friend basically also made the small fortune of $7220 putting in a sixteen hour week from there house and there friend’s sister-in-law`s neighbour done this for four months and got a cheque for more than $7220 part time from a computer. follow the instructions on this web-site… jump15.comCHECK IT OUT

  • Luke

    At least he doesn’t have problems with ‘not enough light’ ;)

  • doktor skye

    i like the pictures of the sun at night,

  • Dongskie

    On the 5th photo from the top, a black dot is there, what for? a UFO?

  • Heath Russell

    our sun looks furry!

  • ttt

    GREAT!!! Please add pictures of the moon!! :) Thank you for your amazing work!

  • Terry Green

    If this guy can take such awesome photos of the sun then this guy needs to take some really nice, really close, really big pictures of the moon and show us the damn gear left up there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/benjamin.lappalainen Benjamin Lappalainen

    That’s Venus! He must have taken it during the transit last summer.

  • Jason

    …or a big bang. Absolutely beautiful photos!

  • Jason

    Really? See above re: amateur discussion. You know, not everyone has the concentration span of a dog and a squirrel. These photos are fantastic.

  • bkt66

    Great pictures. He is no amateur…

  • zachariahblair93wh

    my best friend’s mother makes $75/hour on the laptop. She has been laid
    off for 6 months but last month her paycheck was $17402 just working on
    the laptop for a few hours. Here’s the site to read more­ ­ ­A­s­k­2­5­.­­c­o­m­

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EQQLWV4H3PF233KQNCDL5HQVYQ Juan

    Very cool! Great job!

  • ldylbrty

    Absolutely amazing. Great pics.

  • cunguez

    I would absolutely LOVE to see any work of yours that represents a fraction of the inonovative thinking or dedication to the craft of capturing an image. And it’s called a craft because it’s something that is honed over time, through the iterative process, something that requires discipline. Trolls do so love critiquing the work of others with absolutely nothing to confirm that they themselves even own a camera, much less know what to do with it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eleanorcaputo Ellie Caputo

    Amazing photos. It is just mind blowing that there is a ball of extreme energy just floating around out there and giving us life! What feeds its energy I wonder?

  • Saxton Hale

    I am SO JELLY

  • david lee

    Layla. if you, thought Mark`s remark is something… on thursday I bought a new Toyota after earning $5926 this last 5 weeks and over ten/k last munth. it’s by-far my favourite-job I’ve had. I started this seven months/ago and practically straight away started bringing in minimum $81, per/hr. I use the details on this web-site,, ☛☛☛☛☛☛☛►►► jobs54.comCHECKITOUT

  • Dolphins1967

    Very Spectacular Images……. Other than the price of a telescope…i’d like to know what the cost is for items to hook onto a telescope to get that kind of photos. I’ve only used my camera and a dark lens to get photos to come in that good.

  • http://twitter.com/Vickylou81 Victoria Sinani

    Inspiring photography

  • Adam

    Well color me socks blown off.

  • JustCurious

    how can an “amateur”get picture’s like this of the sun (500 million klms away) and nobody can get a clear picture of a UFO in earth’s atmosphere.Outstanding photographic images by a clever man.