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Once in a lifetime: eclipse of the sun on the Faroe Islands, by Michael Harvey

1 July 2015

Having studied physics and astronomy at university, I constantly find myself returning to photographing controlled science based subject matter. Physical events, like the solar eclipse, are ultimately predictable and uncertain in equal measure. They are easy to predict in time and place, but rely on a good deal of luck in predicting the weather and where you chose to shoot from. The 2015 total solar eclipse, which passed through the Faroe Island and Svalbard, Norway was an ideal target for a personal project. I set out with four days to organize locations and transport ahead of the eclipse. The Faroe Island, with a population of 50,000 found themselves hosting nearly 18,000 visitors for the eclipse. The Islands felt positively crowded. They even created a specialist beer for the event.

Basing myself out of Torshavn, I was able to find three possible locations to photograph the eclipse. The torrential rain and low cloud that preceded the eclipse left most people feeling that it was going to be a non-event. I had chosen three locations which would allow the best chance of shooting the total eclipse, depending on the wind direction.

Much of the guess-work was removed by using a combination of Sunseeker and Artemis to predict lens choices and the position of the sun at totality.

Getting up at 5.30am on the morning of the eclipse I chose to stay in Torshavn and shoot from the hills overlooking the city. The storms persisted, but with 2 minutes to totality a gap in the clouds appeared and I caught this shot of the eclipse.

You can see how bad the conditions were from this time-lapse that I shot from a second camera on Vimeo

Michael Harvey's photography has been described as "a little bit of emotion creeping into a cold world". Michael is an award winning still life photographer based in London. His ultra-realistic, controlled, science based imagery has gained him many commissions from Advertising Agencies and Design Groups. He studied Physics & Astronomy at UCL, London. He has been a director of The Association of Photographers for the last two years. He was born in Brazil and speaks French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and English.

Michael is currently exhibiting with the Association of Photographers' touring Awards exhibition for his ‘Bubble’ series – Best in Category AOP Awards 2014 (currently in Manchester).

Michael Harvey Photography

See more work by Michael Harvey

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