Diamond Ring – heralding Totality
Today I want to share something with you that is extremely special to me – our eclipse journey which I started planning two years ago. It was two years ago that I called the hotel in the tiny little town of John Day, Oregon to reserve a room for the two of us for last weekend. John Day lay in the path of totality, so we wouldn’t have to drive any further once we got there to see the total solar eclipse.
Baily’s Beads – Sunlight rushing in between moon’s craters
This was our first total solar eclipse. I have photographed a couple of partial ones before, but those were nothing compared to the sun being completely obscured by the moon. I knew I had to capture this event with my camera and telescope.
So, on Friday afternoon we started our 592-mile / 10-hour journey northbound to chase the moon’s shadow for the first time in our lives. We both love to drive, and the scenery was fabulous. At any other time, I would have stopped and taken a LOT of photos along the way, but my mind was focused on one and only one thing this time.
Close up of Baily’s Beads – bright sunlight filtering through the rough edges of the craters on the moon
Solar Prominences – Activity on the solar surface shown in red
I knew going in that I would be able to either view and enjoy the eclipse or take photos. I chose photos. Totality would last only 2 minutes at our location and I had to finish taking a series of photos within that time. Immediately after, the solar filter would need to be placed back in front of the telescope before the sun would emerge again, so my eyes and my optics would not be left permanently damaged.
Couldn’t pass up a chance of capturing the lunar surface covering the sun
We spent Sunday at the hotel. We were lucky enough to be able to park our car right in front of our room. The car powered my telescope’s motorized mount so it could continue to track the sun once I had everything set up and aligned correctly. We spent the morning making sure the setup worked from that location. The afternoon was spent rehearsing the set of exposures I would be taking.
One last rehearsal Monday morning and I was set. I started watching and recording the partial eclipse from the very beginning. As the moon proceeded to cover the majority of the sun, the light started dimming quite significantly and the temperature dropped noticeably as well. I felt a chill in the air and we experienced late twilight in the middle of an otherwise very sunny morning.
Right then, the alarm went off on the phone to tell us to remove the solar filter and start clicking. The race against time had begun! It felt like the two minutes were over even before the countdown started. I didn’t get a chance to look up at the sky, but I also knew I would be very sad if I didn’t take the photos.
Needless to say, I didn’t get to paint or sew much. Before the trip, I did manage to make a small bag using the yellow newspaper fabric that my dear friend Kris sent me. I made it to carry my tiny little paint palette and my sketchbook. Remember the round pencil cases I made in this Sketchbook 2017 post? Now I have a matching art supply bag. I took them with me, but unfortunately they stayed in my backpack. I know one of the August sketchbook entries will be of the eclipse.
Total Solar Eclipse – Beginning To End
My husband helped me rehearse the photography sequence more than a dozen times, and talked to curious strangers while I was setting up my telescope so I could keep my concentration. Most importantly, he sacrificed his viewing experience to remove and replace the solar filter on time, to call the photo settings out loud and to shine a red light on the camera so I could shoot uninterrupted.
This was my first try at taking photos of totality and I really could not have done this without him. I wish we had a few more seconds so he could have enjoyed it a bit longer. I owe him another eclipse journey.
I anticipated this for so long, now I am a bit sad that it’s over. As happy as I am with the photos, I also wish that I spent time experiencing the totality with my own eyes. Shakespeare said it best – “For man is a giddy thing and this is my conclusion“.
Thank You for listening!
I am also linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page. They are fun to visit and great source for new inspirations.