photographer Zev Hoover I shot the solar eclipse this morning when a bird happened to fly through the picture. He then decided to create this unusual image that shows the trail of the dark bird silhouette against the partial annular solar eclipse.
Hoover, a Boston-based imagery technician and photographer, got up at 3:30 a.m. and drove to Quincy Beach with his girlfriend Zoe Chakoian and colleague Christian Lockwood to set up his camera gear. He has both stills and 4K video with his Sony a7S III and a 1000mm refractive telescope at f / 13, and the group’s goal was to capture images of the eclipsed sunrise with a Boston lighthouse in the foreground.
“Unfortunately for us in Boston there was a thick layer of cloud near the horizon,” Hoover told PetaPixel. “We set up our gear on the Quincy riverside overlooking Boston Harbor and waited for the first light. As the sun rose, the clouds began to lift, and the sun actually peeked out as the solar eclipse peaked.
“A Glaucous Seagull happened to fly through my frame [at 5:35am] At that moment, perfectly against the sun and moon, and I started taking pictures with my telescope as it passed. “
A section of the photo by Zev Hoover showing the details of the bird’s flight.
To create this “bird trail” image, Hoover stacked frames from the video he captured.
“Editing the picture was pretty easy,” says the photographer. “Successive frames of video were combined statistically as one might do to reduce noise, but instead of averaging, I used a minimal function.
“This is a way to incorporate the dark bird silhouette from every image against the eclipse without having to do custom masking that is both tedious and feels a little less authentic.”
Hoover says he’s happy that he got off the beach with that lucky shot as the trip initially felt like a wasted effort due to the inclement weather.
“To see the sinusoidal movement of the seagull’s wings directly over the intersecting orbits of the sun, moon and earth that make such a solar eclipse image possible … seems poetic to me,” says Hoover.
Credit: Photo by Zev Hoover, Christian Lockwood, and Zoe Chakoian and used with permission