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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Chasing The Shadow – Eclipse 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017 Diamond Ring | Whims And Fancies


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.



Solar Eclipse 2017 Baily's Beads | Whims And Fancies


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.


Solar Eclipse 2017 Baily's Beads With Prominence | Whims And Fancies


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.


Solar Eclipse 2017 Earthshine | Whims And Fancies


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.


Solar Eclipse 2017 Totality | Whims And Fancies




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.



Solar Eclipse 2017 | Whims And Fancies


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.



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