Transit of Venus

I know this is even way more off-topic than I usually am, but I’m so excited I was able to get these pictures I can’t help but share. This kind of makes up for the fact I missed the space shuttle being flown over us a couple of months ago. Everything was working against me today and I thought I’d miss the transit of Venus: I was on-call for transporting wildlife tonight and I often get home after dark when I’m on-call; the forecast for our area was cloudy and rainy; and I don’t have any of the proper equipment for directly viewing the sun. But I got the easiest possible transportation assignment and traffic was so minimal (which around here is nothing short of amazing) that I was home by 6:30. After I lugged my stuff into the house and stepped back out to survey the situation, the sun shone down directly upon me – there were clouds, but they weren’t obscuring the sun and there was no threat of rain. And I remembered the infrared filter I was using before I bought the infrared-converted camera – I had a hunch I could safely look at the sun through it. It worked beautifully! I snapped a couple of pictures with the 18-200mm lens that the filter was purchased to fit, then switched to the 400mm lens that it does not fit. But I was able to rig it to work anyway (so I feel like a genius :)). And here’s what I got:

I kept most of them exactly as they looked through the infrared filter because it seemed so appropriate, but I did convert one to B&W:

After shooting these images, I rushed inside to grab my tripod and set it up in case I wasn’t holding the big lens steady enough, but by the time I got the camera on the tripod, the clouds had rolled in and I never saw the sun again. Fortunately, the pictures I got turned out!

Was anyone else able to watch the transit?


  1. jamie Said,

    June 5, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

    hi renae,

    great photos of the transit. we are watching it vicariously through your lens and other good lens work out there! Heavy cloud today (we are in washington state and June has decided to sulk after a lovely sunny May!).

    Thank you for posting, and I was wondering if you could share a little about the camera you use for your photos? Shawn and I need to choose a good camera for our business but are a bit stumped as to choices. I get overwhelmed by TOO many choices. I have always enjoyed your blog photos, food or animal or astronomical, and thought perhaps you’d have some helpful input…we are needing to stay in the 350 and under dollar range. Seems like a bit of an off topic question, but if/when you have some time and/or the inclination, I’d sure be grateful for a suggestion, if you’ve got one. Being able to take detailed close ups (of architecture work, finishing work, etc.) is important without blurring, as well as decent function at non peak light for outdoor photos as well.


    PS, hope this is an okay question to post on your food blog!! 🙂

  2. renae Said,

    June 5, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

    Hi Jamie,

    Your question is more than okay! I recently upgraded to a Canon 60D from a Canon Rebel XT, only because I dropped and broke the Rebel, but the 60D would be out of your price range. You didn’t specify if you were looking for a point-and-shoot or a dSLR. I don’t know much about point-and-shoots; a very long time ago I did a bunch of research and picked out a Canon Elph for Mark and he loved it. I imagine that line (it may be called PowerShot now) is still good. It was excellent in low light. If you think you’re going to want to get “into” photography at all and/or you want more professional-looking pictures, you might want to consider a dSLR. The newer Rebels are probably more than $350, but I’d consider looking for a used one if your budget doesn’t cover a new one. They are excellent cameras; great starter cameras. I saw either an XT or XTi at an antique store/flea market for $75 a while ago and am kicking myself for not buying it as a backup. If you do buy a used one, it will likely come with a lens. If you manage to find a Canon Rebel body without a lens in your price range, though, I have a kit lens (18-55mm) that I will never use again that I’d be willing to send you for free. Hope that helps!

  3. FoodFeud Said,

    June 5, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

    Beautiful, ethereal shots. It’s kind of vegan related! Be good to yrself and the beautiful planet cuz we sher as hell can’t live on Venus. (Pretty as it is)

  4. jamie Said,

    June 5, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

    Hi Renae,

    that helps tremendously!! it seems that most people we talk to are recommending canon as a good brand. we’ll have to do some more research about the dslr/point and shoot.

    the low light feature is appealing as sometimes we want to get photos at off peak hours when the light is so pretty…it’s been annoying to see photos turn out grainy and blurry!!!

    thanks for that!!

    cheers, jamie

    ps, the offer of the lens is VERY generous! 🙂 You never know!

  5. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy Said,

    June 5, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

    what an amazing bunch of shots!! i tried to see it, but was too blinded by the sun lol

  6. radioactivegan Said,

    June 5, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

    You’re so lucky! The sun never came out here at all. I watched a lot of it on the Exploratorium online, though. It was really neat – I’ll have to start exercising more so that I can be here for the next one 😉 (I’ll only be 134!)

  7. Joey Said,

    June 6, 2012 @ 1:36 am

    Those pictures are truly beautiful. I was hoping to be able to see the transit in London, but our change to take a look was at half four this morning, and somewhat ruined by the clouds. Luckily your pictures can show me what I missed!

  8. kittee Said,

    June 6, 2012 @ 11:42 am

    Awesome shots! Thanks for posting this Renae!

  9. Jes Said,

    June 6, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

    YOUR PHOTOS!!!!!!!

    I watched most of the transit on NASA’s webcast yesterday–totally incredible. I would have given the world to be able to see it through a safe telescope and take pictures, though. Super insanely stoked for you & a little bit jealous. You know. 🙂

  10. Josiane Said,

    June 6, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

    It’s great that despite everything working against you, it all turned out so that you were able to observe that phenomenon and take those pics. Thanks for sharing them!

  11. Silvia Said,

    June 8, 2012 @ 12:28 am

    Thank you SO much for these amazing pictures; now i feel like i didn’t miss the Venus event!

    All of your photos are gorgeous; I check your blog on a regular basis but don’t often leave comments ( I should!). Your work here is wonderful: the photography is amazing, the food makes me hungry and your whole outlook is peaceful and inspiring. I always feel good, calm and positive (and I’m a stress ball) after visiting your blog. Many thanks!!!

  12. jamie Said,

    June 13, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

    hi renae,

    it’s jamie again with a camera update. we have researched our options and are going to go with a rebel. if you are still up for sending the camera lens, may we take you up on that offer?? We can pay postage etc. and if you are ever in vancouver, bc, we live darned close and will treat you and mark to a vegan dinner! There’s some great, very authentic vegan chinese food in richmond, bc which is only 15 minutes from us if you like Asian and there are lots of other choices around here, too!

    Thanks, Renae!


    jamie and shawn

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