By Paul T. Choate
June 6, 2012. “When I heard about the transit I thought I’d dust off this old 1,000 millimeter telescope I had,” Todd Bush said.
Facing 360 degree clouds atop Grandfather Mountain, Bush waited three hours for an opening in the clouds to capture photos of the transit.
“I saw this tiny opening where, if things could stay good, the sun was going to pop out there; and sure enough maybe five or 10 minutes before the sun went down it popped up this little window through some clouds and I fired off maybe 20 or 30 shots,” said Bush
Bush, an amateur astronomer in addition to being a photographer, was able to capture the shot by using a telescope with a camera mounted to it with a Nikon T adapter. Because he did not have a solar filter, he had to use two shade-10 panels of welding glass attached to the telescope with bungee cords as a makeshift filter.
“It was a goose bump moment … It was exciting, it was exhilarating and there wasn’t another soul up there on the mountain. I was very thankful for having been there at Grandfather.”
Bush was allowed to stay and Grandfather Mountain’s Swinging Bridge parking lot past closing, and said he wanted to thank his friends at Grandfather Mountain for allowing him to do so.
This year has seen a lot of solar activity beginning with the discovery of a “monster sunspot” on May 6-7, the annual solar eclipse on May 20, a lunar eclipse that occured June 4, and the Transit of Venus on June 5-6. This all ends for 2012 with a total solar eclipse on Nov. 12-14, visible only in the South Pacific.
Bush is widely considered one of the best photographers in the High Country. To view more of his work, visit www.bushphoto.com.