On October 14, 2023, something truly special unfolded in the skies above Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. Italo Ferreira, a celebrated Brazilian surfer, found himself at the center of an extraordinary photograph during an annular solar eclipse. This photograph, captured by fellow Brazilian photographer Marcelo Maragni, is nothing short of remarkable.
The Art of Timing
The magic of this photograph lies in the precision and timing it demands. Ferreira had to position himself with extreme care, ensuring that the moon created the striking ‘ring of fire’ effect as it passed between the Earth and the sun. It was this alignment that framed the surfer against the backdrop of the eclipse.
Maragni, stationed roughly a kilometer away, played a vital role in this work. He used various tools, including radios, protective eyewear, mirrors, and even two cell phones, to protect his eyes from the intense sunlight and eliminate shadows in the image.
A Dream Realized
For Italo Ferreira, a surfer who had recently secured the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, this moment was deeply meaningful. He couldn’t contain his excitement, saying, “This project meant the world to me. I’m thrilled that we had the best view of the eclipse right here in Rio Grande do Norte and that we captured this moment we’d been planning for months.”
Initially, weather concerns loomed as clouds threatened to obstruct the view. Fortunately, luck was on their side as the skies cleared just in time for the eclipse. Perfect weather and timing allowed them to capture what Ferreira believes is “probably one of the best photos ever taken during an eclipse.”
Behind the Lens
Behind the scenes, Marcelo Maragni faced a significant challenge. Over four months, he conducted rehearsals and scouted over 20 locations. He was in the search for the perfect spot to position the surfer in relation to the eclipse. He even used two cell phones to simulate a theodolite for precise measurements.
Maragni described this project as one of the most complex efforts in his nearly 25-year career. It involved intricate calculations to determine the precise angles and height inclination required. Additionally, he employed a neutral density filter on the camera lens. It helped him to control the amount of light entering, ensuring the perfect shot.
A Rare Glimpse of Nature’s Beauty
The annular eclipse began around 3 pm local time on that day, concluding with the sunset around 6 pm. The captivating ‘ring of fire’ effect appeared around 4:40 p.m. But this stunning sight only lasted for a brief moment. It makes the photograph as rare as the eclipse itself!
The annular eclipse could be seen from several Brazilian states. However, Rio Grande do Norte, where Italo Ferreira grew up, had the privilege of witnessing the eclipse in all its splendor.
The breathtaking photograph of surfer Italo Ferreira against the backdrop of the ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse serves as a testament to dedication, precision, and human achievement. It captures a unique moment that beautifully merges the natural world. This photograph will undoubtedly be remembered as a remarkable eclipse image. It will remind us of the profound beauty that can result from meticulous planning and unwavering determination.