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"I straddle the fence between science and art” says Friedman. Inverting tones or adding color can highlight features and lend individuality to the portrait. “My images look a little different because I explore different qualities in the photograph, not just the scientific data,' he says.
Alan Friedman is an amateur solar photographer. Using a telescope and what he calls “a webcam on steroids,” Alan captures the ever-changing face of the sun.
If you look through the telescope that photographer Alan Friedman used to take the image above, you’ll see only a hint of violet—if you see anything at all. Equipped with a calcium potassium filter, the telescope lets in radiation right on the edge of ultraviolet, which the eye can have a hard time distinguishing.
Luckily, a camera can draw out what the eye misses.
To create solar portraits like this (you can see others on Friedman’s Tumblr, Averted Imagination), Friedman attaches his camera—specifically, an industrial streaming device that he describes as a “webcam on steroids”—to the telescope’s viewfinder, which he focuses on the sun using a computer. He then records video for a minute or two at a time, trying to capture moments of steadiness in the atmosphere. From that video footage, Friedman uses software to pick out the sharpest frames, reviews those, and merges multiple together, then further cleans up the mosaic to get rid of noise—a process that can take several hours.