Saturday, June 2, 2012

Calculating the Time Lapse of the 2012 Venus Transit Event

This year is just full of celestial events! We already had our solar eclipse and not a few weeks later comes an event that won't happen again for about a century or so. Basically we won't be here to see the next one in 2117  unless you happen to find the fountain of youth. This event known as the Venus Transit Event or the Transit of Venus is actually quite interesting to see. 


Basically, this is where the planet Venus simply transits in front of the sun. What one should see is an almost perfect black spot transit or travel across or in front of the sun over a period that will take quite a while. The entire event takes about 6 hours to complete*. Of course where I am located (Tucson, AZ), I will only see about 90% of the transit as the sun will set before it finishes. This was also the case with the solar eclipse a few weeks ago. I should be able to capture most of this event provided:



  1. My cameras don't overheat! (We are in the 100's and in the open direct sunlight this is not so cool.)
  2. My batteries hold up. (I have many so this should be okay.)
  3. I don't faint from heat exhaustion. (Gatorade is gonna make some money on this one!)
  4. I actually go out and shoot the event. (Still a maybe as it is in the middle of the week - Tuesday, June 5th, 2012)
  5. I don't forget to bring my aluminum foil for the cameras. (Yes, this actually worked for the Solar Eclipse and kept the cameras nice and cool.)
  6. And last but not least - the weather! The forecast states it should be clear and hot as hell! Did I mention we are in the 100's?

So here are some examples of what was shot just a couple of weeks ago during the Solar Eclipse:

From my 300mm lens:


From my 200mm lens with a 2x converter (basically a 400mm):


WARNING: For those of you that plan on shooting such an event, remember to protect the eyes. Never look straight into the sun. Get yourself some of those sun viewing glasses. In regards to the cameras themselves, always use super strong filtering with as many steps down as possible. The above sequences were shot with 8.6 stops fader ND filters as well as extreme fast shutter speeds (1/1250 for 300mm and 1/4000 for 400mm) and enormously high f-stops (f-22).

Needless to say, stay tuned! Check back frequently to see if everything cooperated and the Venus Transit Authority, ah, I mean the Venus Transit Event was captured by your's truly. 

*If you noticed that there was an asterisk in the above text, then you will realize that there are some calculations that need to be made to figure out just what type of frequency still captures will be needed to accomplish this. I actually created a new spreadsheet that you can download for free that will help in calculating the process for long events such as this. Simply right click here and select "save as" to save this Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to your computer. I call this spreadsheet the Time Lapse Calculator for Long Events. It will let you enter the frame rate you expect in your final time lapse as well as, and of course the event's length in hours and minutes. The end result will tell you the frequency or time between exposures. Oh. And don't forget to order the e-Book by clicking on the link to the top right. This will really help you understand how to successfully accomplish wonderful time lapse production. Just in case you are savvy and read all the way down to here, you can get a 20% discount for simply entering the discount code of "VENUS" (no quotes, just word all caps)! That's a whopping $7.80 off the regular price. Cool. 





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