One in Hand and Four on the Road

Solar Eclipse 2024 - photo by Soma Acharya @


Hi Everyone!  What started as a solar eclipse viewing trip ended up being an epic journey.   Steering wheel in one hand and four wheels on the road,  my husband and I set out on a 5,200-mile drive on numerous small byways.  After visiting seven states and feeling the forces of tremendous winds, storms, along with snow and desert sun, I am back home again.

This is going to be an abridged version of our road trip along with a few photos of the eclipse.


Chasing The Shadow – Eclipse 2017


We were at John Day, Oregon for the 2017 eclipse.   The sky was perfectly clear.  With my husband’s help, I had managed to take a full set of photos of the eclipse that time.  Except, by the time I looked up, the totality was over.  Since then, I wanted to experience at least one more eclipse.

Driving the lengths of California, Arizona and New Mexico, we set out for Fredericksburg, Texas.



Solar Eclipse 2024 - photo by Soma Acharya @



We had a thick cloud cover, so I didn’t get to take the full set of photos ( which would have mostly been for study purposes ) that I wanted.  I could have fiddled with the camera to get more photos but, unlike 2017, my goal was to do mostly visual observation this time around.


Please click on the image thumbnails to see the photos –



Luckily, the clouds cleared up enough for me to do visual observation and take at least a few photos through the telescope.   The close-up photos are of solar prominences which are only visible during an eclipse.



Solar Eclipse 2024 - photo by Soma Acharya @



I haven’t had the chance to go through the photos I took with my camera yet.  For now, I am sharing the photos I took with my phone.



Petrified Forest National park - photo by Soma Acharya @



Before we got to Fredericksburg, we made one stop at the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. 

The wind was fierce that day, blowing at a steady 66mph.  Dust and tiny stone chips blasted the skin.  I could barely stand straight, let alone take photos.


After reaching Fredericksburg, we had to unpack most of the car to get to the telescope and everything else that I needed for the eclipse.  With the eclipse behind us,  we packed our car once again for the next part of our journey. 



Great Basin Sand Dunes National park - photo by Soma Acharya @



Walking on the sand dunes on the Great Basin National Park, Colorado



Rocky Mountain National park - photo by Soma Acharya @



A whole day of hiking on snow in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado



Pika from Rocky Mountain National park - photo by Soma Acharya @



From my sketchbook – A pika from the Rockies, a kindred soul. 

Neither of us can stand warm weather for too long, and I learned that my allergies disappear at 7500ft onward.



Rocky Mountain National park - photo by Soma Acharya @



Ending the day watching the sunset with a flask full of tea, and cake



Arches National park - photo by Soma Acharya @



Snow to sand – Landscape Arch at Arches National Park, Utah



Utah Badlands - photo by Soma Acharya @



Driving through the Utah “badlands”



Capitol Reef National park - photo by Soma Acharya @



Off to Capitol Reef National Park, Utah





Stopping at Escalante Canyon, Utah

The least mapped region in the US



Bryce Canyon National park - photo by Soma Acharya @



Sunset and sunrise at the Bryce Canyon National Park amphitheater, Utah



Highway 50 sunset - photo by Soma Acharya @



Drove on the loneliest road in the US, Hwy 50



Highway 50 Nevada - photo by Soma Acharya @



Overnight at an old mining town in the middle of nowhere



Highway 50 California - photo by Soma Acharya @


Back home again, in California


We drove through quite a few lonely roads through a strange landscape that I did not know even existed. We walked into places that were as foreign to us as we were to them.  We were made to feel welcome and at home everywhere we went.  We got to know the land and the people who are very much part of it.


A feeling of extreme sadness always takes over me when I have to leave the road behind and return home.  As we drove toward California, one look at my beloved Sierra Nevada mountains was all I needed to shake off that sadness, knowing that I will be out there again pretty soon.

I was missing my kitties a lot by this time.  They are the pull I need to get back home again.  At home, a lot of cuddle time made the homecoming that much more worthwhile. 


Until next time,


I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please consider paying a visit to some of them.



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Joy In Imperfection

Handmade book @ by Soma Acharya


Hi Everyone!  During the last few days,  I took some photos and happened to come across a few paintings that are far from perfect.  They are, however, perfect examples of how letting go of perfection often provides a playground for learning and honing skills without pressure.  I would love to share a few of these with you today, along with my approach.



Please click on the image thumbnails to see the photos –




I always keep a stack of small pieces of inexpensive watercolor paper on my desk.   I paint simple things on them whenever I need to warm up before working on something larger.  I also use them to try out new art supplies.  There is never any pressure with these practice pieces.   These were just floating about, so one day I decided to put them all in a book.




Scrap drawings @ by Soma Acharya




I keep cuttings from drawings that have not worked out.  I pulled a tiny piece of pen drawing from that stack.




Handmade book @ by Soma Acharya



For the cover, I used washi tape and boards that were leftover from books that I had previously bound.   I inset the little pen sketch in the middle and finished the book by making a grey frame from another piece of scrap paper.   Improvising while creating this book let me hone some of my skills further.  I need a place where I can play, and this book is the perfect playground.

I continued in the spirit of the experimental paintings that were already part of this book and painted these two next.



Cottage watercolor painting @ by Soma Acharya



I love the idea of a cottage overgrown with shrubbery set by the edge of the woods.  The green paint I was using for the forest dried much darker than I had anticipated.  I put it aside and went to bed.  I sometimes have trouble falling asleep, and that night happened to be one of those nights.  Finally, I gave up on sleep, and started fiddling with it at 3:00AM.

I put a coat of titanium white on the area to cover up the dark green mess.  As I  started to paint the green back again, the white kept on diluting the green.  So I changed my approach and daubed on the green in places instead of painting with brush strokes.  It worked.  I like the mix of light and dark in the green now.



Tree on a misty rainy day watercolor painting @ by Soma Acharya



I wanted to learn a little more about this particular green paint that I mostly use for shadows. So I set out to paint a tree on a misty, rainy day.

The green paint is in every part of this painting.  I added yellow and red to the green to create the other colors.  This particular green paint is very textured and opaque.  If I used even a smidge extra, the area looked very dirty and mucky.

I wet the paper first.   As I added paint, I let the water on the paper pull or push the pigment around.  That avoided the dirty look and kept the edges soft for a misty day look.



North Bay Area California Sky photography @ by Soma Acharya



Last Saturday it was raining off and on.  I love to be outside on days like this.  While My husband and I were driving to Japantown in San Francisco,  I took this photo from the car.   Not a clean photo, but few raindrops on the windshield only added to the drama.



Japantown @ by Soma Acharya



After browsing, getting a few books from my favorite book shop, and having dinner at the most wonderful udon noodle restaurant, we went to a Japanese convenience store to pick up our favourite snacks and drinks.  I always find something there for my journals and this time I got this A5 size case.  A wonderful fit for my sketchbooks, plus a couple of pencils and erasers for traveling.  Sometimes things just work out!



Bowers Museum Photography exhibit, Ted Crone Taxi New York @ by Soma Acharya



Back at Bowers Museum, I was completely smitten by Ted Croner’s Taxi, New York at night photo.  If you are interested, you can read more about him on  this Howard Greenberg Gallery page.



The Golden Gate Bridge in the rain inspired by Ted Crone Taxi New York photography @ by Soma Acharya

Inspired by Ted Croner’s Taxi, New York at night photo


On the way back, as we were driving on the Golden Gate Bridge, rain started to fall.  I asked my husband if he could hold off running the wipers, and quickly snapped this photo of the bridge through a rain-spattered windshield.  Not quite as brilliant as Ted Croner’s photo, but it will do for now.



The Girl and Her Cat drawing @ by Soma Acharya

Work in progress teaser:  The girl is watering while her little cat patiently…


I have been doing a lot of book binding lately, experimenting with new techniques and materials.  I had just started sketching a cover for an experimental book when I noticed two tiny 1.5”/2.0” scraps on the desk.



Little purple wildflowers drawing @ by Soma Acharya



I couldn’t resist painting these little flowers on them.  I painted them completely outside the lines quite intentionally.  Hubby already claimed one of them, so we will each have one for our journals.


I really hope this gives you some ideas and encourages you to play and make.  There is sweetness and joy in imperfection.

Until next time,


I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please consider paying a visit to some of them.



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