Photographer Travels From Portugal to Texas for Stunning Eclipse Image

A composite image showing a total solar eclipse on the left and four telescopes set up on a grassy field on the right. The eclipse captures the solar corona surrounding the moon. The telescopes and cameras are pointed towards the sky under a partly cloudy day.

An astrophotographer was left to sweat on the weather after traveling some 5,000 miles from Portugal to Texas in a bid to capture a spectacular HDR image of the eclipse. But fortunately, it paid off.

Miguel Claro made the journey to Clarksville, Texas but the cloudy weather shredded his nerves until just five minutes before totality started and the skies miraculously cleared around the Sun.

A Complex Image

Claro is an accomplished astrophotographer and brought with him a complicated setup involving six cameras.

A group of telescopes and cameras on tripods are set up in a grassy field under a partly cloudy sky. Nearby, there is a box and some equipment laid out on a black cloth. Trees and a dirt path are visible in the background.

“Just a few months before the eclipse I started going deep, researching and studying the processes involved in that kind of HDR eclipse images,” Claro writes on his website.

The celestial photographer read papers on how the perfectly align the image as well as following articles and tutorials published by his astrophotography peers.

Detailed image of a solar eclipse, showing the moon completely covering the sun. The sun's corona forms a bright, glowing ring around the moon with visible rays and small prominences. Tiny stars are faintly visible in the dark sky behind.

“The image I’m presenting is the result of many hours of study and practice and a refined fusion of some of the techniques I’ve learned over the last few years,” he writes.

“After aligning all the brackets, I achieved a perfect HDR merging while matching each exposure, totally free of any artifact.”

Claro’s image dramatically captures the Sun’s extremely hot corona; revealing intricate fine structures that are distorted by strong magnetic fields that can only be seen when the Moon is covering the Sun.

“The plasma of the Sun’s corona features a lot of loops and wispy white streamers radiating into space,” he adds.

A solar eclipse with the moon partially covering the sun, creating a vivid corona and a bright diamond ring effect. Surrounding clouds add a dramatic touch, enhancing the contrast against the dark sky.

Claro says that an HDR image of the eclipse is “probably the most advanced and complex task in astrophotography.” That’s because finding the correct set of exposures, the right location, and the right start time, and then executing it all in a short amount of time is very stressful.

“But also very time-consuming and difficult to process,” he adds. “First, because the Sun, the Moon, and the stars have all different motions across the sky, which are evident in long focal distances and long exposures.

“Images must be aligned not on the Moon’s disc, not on the stars, and not even on the prominences (as it only works in shorter exposures), so to reveal the corona in full glory, images must be aligned on the coronal structures which are very hard and tricky, as they are faint, subtle and lack contrast.”

A mesmerizing image of a solar eclipse captures the moon entirely blocking the sun, with the sun's corona radiating outward in delicate, wispy streams. The dark lunar surface contrasts sharply with the bright light rays at the edges. Small red prominences are visible just around the edges of the moon. The background is a dark sky scattered with faint stars.

Claro used a Nikon D850 with a Sigma 600mm lens set at f/6.3 to achieve the high-resolution image.

“I did more than 163 photos (bracketed exposures), but I’ve only selected 72 images (8 bracketed sequences of 9 shots each) to process, where the sky was crystal clear without any high cloud visible,” he explains.

“The exposure time for each sequence bracketing ranged from 1/125s, 1/60s, 1/30s, 1/15s, 1/8s, 1/4, 1/2s, 1s, 2s at ISO 100, plus additional fast exposures of 1/4000 for the solar prominences and Baily’s Beads.”

To buy a print of Claro’s incredible photo you can do so by vistiing his shop.

For more of Claro’s work, head to his Facebook and Instagram.

Image credits: All photos by Miguel Claro.