Angel Peak Badlands at Totality of Annular Solar Eclipse

Badlands at the begining of Solar Annular Eclipse

Badlands during totality with a exposure correction of +1/3 stop

Critique Style Requested: In-depth

The photographer has shared comprehensive information about their intent and creative vision for this image. Please examine the details and offer feedback on how they can most effectively realize their vision.

Self Critique

I’m seeking exposure input between the first and third photo. There is one stop difference between the the two. The first photo is as exposed (1/50s) and the second is the same photo with the exposure increased by one stop in ACR. The second (middle) photo was taken just before the eclipse started, so it’s kind of a control photo.

With the exception of adjustments made in ACR, these photos haven’t had additional editing to them. I wanted to get input before investing more time in processing.

Creative direction

I would like to create a collage showing the changing light in a landscape during an annular solar eclipse. I’m not sure how I’m going to go about it yet. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Specific Feedback

I knew from experiencing two partial solar eclipses that the light would get a orange/yellow hue to it. My goal was to capture the changing light. To do this, I turned on my camera’s “Interval Timer” and “HDR”. I set the interval to take a photo every 1 minute and the HDR to 1 stop. I knew that light would be diminishing and the reason I used HDR was so that I would have three exposures to choose from. However, as the eclipse progressed I found that had to adjust the shutter speed to maintain a proper exposure.

There is one stop difference between the first and third photos. The first photo is as exposed (1/50s) and the second is the same photo with the exposure increased by one stop in ACR. Which would you chose? Knowing the goal is to create a collage of the eclipse, which would you chose?

Note: I plan to crop some of the bottom and left edge out.

Technical Details

Canon 5DIV; Canon 24-70 lens @ 50mm; f8; ISO 100; 1/50s (first photo); 1/200s (middle photo); 1/50s @ +1 stop in ACR (third photo)
White balance is adjusted to 5500


My son and I traveled to Farmington, New Mexico to photograph the annular solar eclipse and to explore areas we’ve never seen before. Part of our exploration was to find a location to document the effect of the changing light on the landscape during an eclipse. We didn’t have enough time to explore all of the areas we wanted to. Living in the mid-west one tends to forget just how vast and wide open States like New Mexico are. We would have needed a month to explore all of the areas on out list. In the end, we chose Angle Peak Badlands for the varying colors and hues in the rocks.

I had two cameras setup for this eclipse. One to document the changing light in the landscape and the other on the eclipse.

I like the as-exposed first photo better because I prefer the more saturated colors and sharper contrasts. But that may just be personal taste.

For the collage, I wonder if you could gradually blend shots of different light/times across the image left to right…?

I like better the last version with less contrast and more light, it hase a pictorial appearance at least for me.

My wife grew up in Aztec, so I’ve spent a lot of time in this area. Unfortunately though, not as a photographer; I wish I had been taking pictures in all those visits! I too prefer the last, and think it would do best as part of the collage you plan to better explain the significance.

Hi Cathy,
Thanks for taking your time to critique my photo. I like your idea for a collage. I’m going to give a go over the holidays. I think taking your approach will allow me to decide which photo will work best as I move through the process.

1 Like

Hi Giuseppe,
Thanks for taking time to critique my photo. I appreciate your help. I like the contrast in the top but intellectually I know that the bottom may be a better choice I decided that I’m going to try a blend that Cathy proposed. I figure a decision can be make while working on the collage. Thanks again.

Hi John,
Thanks for taking time to provide input on my photo. I was fortunate enough to spend two outstanding summers in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as a young man. This is the first time I have explored other areas of New Mexico. New Mexico is called “Land of Enchantment” for a good reason. Absolutely stunning.

1 Like

I really like all of the layers in these images and the warm and cool colour combination. In regard to the first versus third image, my vote is for the third. Being brighter makes it feel less blocked up.

I’m afraid I won’t be much help with your collage question because I’m having a hard time visualizing how to effectively show the changing light so that it tells a story. Without the eclipsed sun in the frame there are no visual clues to tell the viewer what is happening and why the light is different in each frame. It would be a good story to tell, that’s for sure, I’m just not sure how to go about it.