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Heinrich and Jones

Danville Community College instructor John Heinrich explains how to operate a custom-made tube pinhole viewer to student Cody Jones at the onset of the solar eclipse on Monday, August 21.


Centuries-Old Camera Technique Used to View Solar Eclipse at DCC


(August 21, 2017)  – With a solar eclipse expected to reach peak obscuration of 91.6 percent at 2:42 p.m. on Danville Community College’s campus Monday, instructor John Heinrich had a plan for his students’ first day of photography class this semester: They would learn to apply a unique photography technique to view the eclipse.
Heinrich led students in constructing tube pinhole viewers from mailing tubes Monday morning. That afternoon, students, faculty, and staff used the innovative devices to observe the solar event. The tubes function by placing it on the viewer’s shoulder, with the viewer looking away from the sun and into a window cut out from the side of the tube. From there, the moon’s shadow becomes clearly visible as it is projected onto the white base of the mailing tube.
Pinhole photography is a centuries-old technique used to create images via a small hole in a completely enclosed box with no other source of light entering it. The light that seeps through the pinhole creates an image inside of the camera.
“This was a good opportunity for the students to learn about and apply the principles of pinhole photography and have an opportunity to experience a once-in-a-lifetime moment in history,? Heinrich said.
Heinrich also captured photographs of the eclipse using a filter he built and attached to his camera for the event.
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solar eclipse as seen through custom viewing tube

Danville Community College information systems technology student Jacob Hancock captured this image of the solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, using a tube pinhole viewer built by students in instructor John Heinrich’s photography class earlier that morning.


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