Tree leaves becoming “pinhole cameras” during the Annular Solar Eclipse.

annular solar eclipse The longest, annular (like a ring) Solar Eclipse of the millennium happened today (15th January 2010).

When the annular eclipse was at its peak in the region from where I was watching it (Nugegoda, Sri Lanka), I saw some peculiar shadows on the ground. It occurred to me only after several seconds that they are caused by the Solar Eclipse!

When the sun’s rays hit the ground passing through small gaps between tree leaves, they create the “Pinhole Camera” affect. These are actually small inverted images of the sun projected on the ground. Refer the Wikipedia article for more information about the Pinhole Camera:

Checkout these pictures I took at that time:

Annular Solar Eclipse 2010 pinhole effect in shadows from a tree

Annular Solar Eclipse 2010 pinhole effect in shadows from a tree

It was a beautiful pattern to watch during the dreamy-darkness of the eclipse. The reduced temperature due to the eclipse, felt good on the skin too Happy

Get to know when future solar and lunar eclipses would happen from this NASA eclipse website:


7 Responses to “Tree leaves becoming “pinhole cameras” during the Annular Solar Eclipse.”

  1. Sharon Wijesinghe says:

    Truly… was….to witness these leaves…rather their shadows… like this! during the eclipse peak… This is the 1st time..that I saw something like this and learnt about it….!

    Well..its nice that you’ve stamped your own shadow too (in the 2nd pic)…even your wrist-watch! 😉

    • Guganeshan.T says:

      Actually, I discovered a similar picture in the Wikipedia page about “Pinhole cameras” (you would have seen it too) only when I visited that page to gather more information. So actually blogging about something is one way to learn about it in detail 🙂

      and yes… I saw my shadow in the picture, but didn’t see the wristwatch 😀
      Happy to know that you learned something.

  2. Wendy Rosier says:

    In 1963 during the July 20 total eclipse I was visiting my relative at Pidgeon Lake, Alberta in the northern latitudes of Canada. We weren’t in the direct path of the eclipse so only saw partial crescent of the event but what intrigued me more was the shadows! I saw the same thing you describe and have been looking for validation ever since – never seen the phenomenon again until running across your very interesting and informational blog.

    Thanks for posting it!

  3. Guganeshan.T says:

    I’m happy to know that the post provided the validation you needed.

    Thank you for the nice comment Wendy 🙂

  4. Agnes says:

    I’m happy that I came across your site here because now I see these pinhole camera effects, I can understand the pictures that I took during the solar eclipse while I was in Tamil Nadu, India last January. It was the most beautiful experience and I took severl pics of this effect. Would like your opinion, see pics via this link

    • Guganeshan.T says:

      Hi Agnes,

      Just checked your flicker pics. You have taken some nice shots of the affect.

      And yes, it was a beautiful experience indeed 🙂 I am eagerly waiting for another one someday.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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