Amateur photographer in 'epicenter' of solar eclipse

Cary Ashby • Sep 9, 2017 at 6:00 PM

John Varos knocked something off his bucket list.

The longtime amateur photographer had planned for years to take pictures of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse. The Norwalk man said he “wanted to be there in the epicenter.”

Varos determined the best place to see the eclipse for the longest amount of time was in Hopkinsville, Ky. According to the Eclipseville website, the city calls itself “the point of the greatest eclipse.”

However, Varos said he decided to be in Cadiz, Ky., where he would lose about eight seconds of the eclipse, but he would be “right on Lake Barkley in a beautiful cabin.”

But before he could take his photos, it was time to hit the books.

“I did a lot of research,” said Varos, who has been an amateur photographer for about 50 years.

He has an older model Nikon D3100 that came with a 55 mm-200 mm zoom lens.

“First of all, I used the longer lens,” Varos said. “I bought a tele-extender.”

Varos purchased the devise, which fits between the camera body and lens, online for less than $20.

What he learned was the lens and the camera body wouldn’t communicate properly, so he said “everything had to be done manually.”

“For solar filtration, I purchased a sheet of solar film, available online for about $10, and cut a circular piece and placed it between two standard … UV filters. I also had enough left over for the objective lenses of my binoculars,” Varos said.

Before the eclipse, he said he took “some test pictures” and adjusted the filter and iso-sensitivity on his camera accordingly.

Between 1:39 and 4:30 p.m. Aug. 21, the Norwalk man snapped about 50 photographs.

Afterward, Varos, his wife Claudia and their family toasted the sun coming back out. With the couple were their daughter, Suzanne Yorkey, her husband Jeff and their daughter Alexandra, all of Temperance, Mich.

“We were worried it wouldn’t (return),” Varos said, jokingly referring to the sun.

Varos was asked if he was happy with the photos he took.

“Absolutely,” he said.

If other photographers are interested in tips and strategies to capture the April 8, 2024 eclipse, call John Varos at 419-663-2062.

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