The 2012 transit of Venus across the Sun could not have come at a worse time for me. Smack bang in the middle of E3 2012, I was in Las Angeles with approximately negative 5 hours of free time the whole week. What is worse, I only realise it was happening two days beforehand. In amongst all the preparation for E3, there was no time for buying a crucial piece of sun-filming equipment: A neutral density filter.
Nor had I brought a tripod. Or even thought about a place in LA that the sun would be visible from during the sunset. Or left enough time after our final Tuesday E3 appointment. From pretty much all angles, this piece of amateur film-making was not looking good at all.
|The angle was tight, but possible.|
|Got a bin, got a tripod.|
A hallway bin combined with my satchel to create an improvise tripod. The next question was, could the camera stop the aperture up far enough to see past the glare to Venus? With no neutral density filter, it was close. The only thing standing between the aperture blades and the burning sunset were a UV filter, a polariser, and a grubby hotel window.
|There she be.|
With the lens all the way out to 200mm, an aperture of f/22, and shutter speed of 8000/sec, Venus popped up in the viewfinder. Success! For about five minutes, I watched another world.
Videos of the transit are available everywhere, but I was proud that this was my own little piece of astronomy. Studying the planets intently with grandad are some of my earliest memories, and I'll be damned if I was going to miss an event that won't happen again for 117 years.