Incredible Eclipse Photo Looks Exactly Like the Photographer’s Planned Sketch

Solar Eclipse Photo by Julian Diamond

Astrophotography—and particularly eclipse photography—can be a game of minutes. Capturing the perfect photo often comes down to the detailed research and extensive planning that happens in the weeks, and even months, prior to a big event. Photographer Julian Diamond is more than familiar with the work it takes to get a great eclipse photo. Diamond, who is based in New York's Hudson Valley, enjoyed success with his 2018 photo of the full moon centered on a fire tower. Now, he was ready to use this landmark again to celebrate the most recent partial solar eclipse.

Diamond's work went viral once again; this time when he shared the photo of his sketched composition next to the finish photo, which matched perfectly. The attention his tweet attracted shows just how hungry the public is to learn more about how this type of photography works. For Diamond, it was a nice reward for the long-term work he'd been doing in photographing the forest fire tower next to celestial bodies.

This time, perfect symmetry wasn't going to be possible, so Diamond needed to think through his composition. “I wanted the open side of the eclipse—the ‘horns'—to frame the tower, instead of directing the eye to the edge of the frame,” Diamond tells My Modern Met. “Finally, it was important to me that the Sun appear bigger in the frame, relative to the tower, than the Moon did in the earlier work. Although there’d be less detail in the tower because of the greater distance, I felt it was crucial to visually communicate the immense difference in magnitude between the two objects.”

Hand Drawn Sketch to Decide Composition for Eclipse Photo by Julian Diamond

Finding the perfect vantage point took some time, as Diamond spent months scouting fire towers in the region to get a good fit. While he'd been hoping for a wide vantage point to allow for corrections, there were no good candidates within a few hours of his house. So, he returned to his favorite local tower, which was featured in his 2018 photo. In order to have access to the location, he needed to get special off-hour permission to enter the park. With that in hand, he was able to get in and execute his vision.

In the end, it was the intense scouting that proved to be the biggest challenge. “Satellite imagery is good at highlighting obvious clearings, but small openings, like the one I exploited, are usually identified only through physical scouting,” he shared. “Knowing the view is there, tantalizingly close but obscured by just a few layers of trees–that gets frustrating. By all means, I should have abandoned this composition after my first fruitless day on-location and started working on an alternative plan. Doubly so on the second scouting day. But sunrise eclipses are exceedingly rare at any given location, and I wanted this shot to be unequivocally mine, so I had to press on.”

All of his hard work paid off, as once again he's had a photo go viral. And his photograph proves that even partial eclipses can make for stunning imagery. Now we just have to wait until the next big celestial event to see what he'll come up with next.

Photographer Julian Diamond's tweet showing his sketch and final photo of a partial eclipse has gone viral.

Diamond spent months scouting the perfect location, which ended up being a small opening in the trees.

Scouting a Location to Photograph the Solar Eclipse

His sequence of photos shows the eclipse slowly rising into position.

Solar Eclipse Photo by Julian Diamond
Solar Eclipse Next to a Tower

The forest fire tower is his favorite accessory for his astrophotography.

Full Moon Centered on Observation Tower by Julian Diamond

Astrophotography by Julian Diamond

Julian Diamond: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Julian Diamond.

Related Articles:

Perfectly Timed Photo Captures a Person “Holding” a Total Solar Eclipse

NASA Releases Incredible Photos of This Weekend’s “Ring of Fire” Solar Eclipse

Incredible Photo of a Sunrise During a Solar Eclipse Looks Like the Ocean Has Horns

Perfectly Timed Photo Frames a Solar Eclipse Around a Man Leading a Camel in the Desert

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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