Total Solar Eclipse - From 30 Years to 3 Minutes & 20 Seconds

Hey everyone, just an update to my last post from Sunday night.

The eclipse went off without a hitch – thankfully, I am not personally capable of interfering with celestial events – and I have to say, nothing could have ever possibly prepared me for the experience. No photo has ever actually captured what I saw Monday afternoon. I don’t think any of them have come close.

Picture of my own attached for total lack of effect.

As I looked down at my camera screen and watched the last light of the crescent Sun disappear from my view, I felt totality occur. The umbra of the Moon swept over me while I looked down, and the world got noticeably chilly. The wind died down. The world was silent for a hiccup. I immediately and excitedly looked up, and I think my brain broke.

Hovering in the sky over Potato World was an black, alien orb, surrounded by a thin ring of brilliant white and pink shimmering fire. It was something straight out of a science fiction movie, and not necessarily a good one, either. It looked so incredibly fake.

It looked downright cartoony.

And it hit me like a ton of bricks. I wept as I stared at it, completely unable to maintain composure. I gawked at how bright the solar corona actually was – I had completely expected to have to strain to see it. I marveled as I realized I was seeing, with my own two, naked eyes, solar prominences arching over the limb of the Moon. And I just sobbed through the whole experience.

My fiancee, whose interest in this had seemed to be primarily a mix between modest curiosity in a significant natural and cultural event and support for my interest, also cried at seeing it, while her son sat on the ground with his mouth hanging open.

It was both the longest and the shortest 3 minutes of my life. When it was over, I just stood in the field in a daze, periodically pressing my camera’s shutter button. In just a few minutes following the end of totality, the field, in which hundreds of people had gathered, was nearly empty. Only a handful of us remained, and most of the others had heavier equipment than my DSLR and tripod.

At the end of the day, I didn’t quite get the pictures I wanted. I had hoped to get bracketed exposures during totality, and I had assumed that my camera’s settings for that when using the LCD display as digital viewfinder would be the same as when using the optical viewfinder, and they weren’t. But I’m not too fussed about it. The pictures still turned out significantly better than I could have hoped for.

I’ll be posting the rest of my photos – including some pictures of Potato World itself – to my PixelFed account, which can be found here, if anyone’s interested: pixey.org/i/web/profile/384533916920271164

XeroxCool,

I have such mixed feelings about all the time I spent with my cameras during the event. By time I realized I had no practice with the camera and eq mount for daytime use, it was cloudy the whole time at home. Totality is not something you can reasonably practice anyway. So yeah, I have a few cool totality pictures with varying detail and a couple hundred showing the partial phases… But for what? They’re not as good as many other amateurs, let alone professionals. If there was ever a time to deal with the hassle of raw photos, it was then. Part of why I gave up on most astrophotography is because the best I could possibly do is simply match it to scientific equipment. It’s cool to do it, but there’s no personalization. Instead, I look more for nightscapes or wide angle really detailed starfields. I’m still conflicted as to whether or not I experienced it properly. I got to show the pics to some people passing by after, assuming I was the go-to person for info on what they experienced, something I love about night time astronomy, but those aren’t such time-limited events.

I’ll probably revel in memories whenever I actually flip through the pictures. But, personally, I don’t think it was worth spending so much of my time getting pictures of a black hole in a black background rather than just letting my mark 1 eyeballs observe the hole in the blue-fade skies.

However, the one piece I absolutely would bring every single time again is binoculars. Maybe that’s why I feel like I didn’t see the eclipse. The view in my 10x binos was so incredibly detailed, the memory matches the stacked and tweaked pictures. I could see more than just the big laser-don’t flare on the bottom, I saw at least 3. Just unreal, no sight in my life before could explain it. A cartoonishly large corona with a black hole in a black background. Maybe I just couldn’t comprehend.

The light effects near totality were certainly something to experience. Decades of experience being in sunlight just didn’t jive with what the sun was doing then. It was more akin to a distant white streetlight rather than a sun. It dimmed and crisped shadows unlike a sunset by not turning orange and blurring of the edges.

I’m glad you had the emotional experience I was expecting to have.

Kichae,

Yeah, my photography issues were similar, re: unfamiliar context. I’m still puzzled as to why the quicksetting menu works totally differently when using it in mirrorless mode. But oh well. There’s always… 2044??? Oh, crap.

I admit, other than a better lens with a tighter view, the bits of equipment I really wished I’d invested in were a tracking motor and a shutter remote. I paid zero attention to my camera during totality, but I still had this nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that I should check my centering, and I didn’t need that.

XeroxCool,

To potentially save you the confusion I had, the next popular one in North America will really be 2045. They’re both in August, but the 2044 TSE is a relatively short, northerly event with totality ending in Montana at sunset. Meanwhile, 2045 is more akin to the 2017 path, passing from California to Florida.

Zoomboingding,
@Zoomboingding@lemmy.world avatar

Yeah, not much of an emotional reaction from me, beyond a slightly incredulous laugh and an extended wow punctuated by gawking in awe. Definitely should have brought my 'nocs!

essteeyou,

“Hovering in the sky over Potato World” is up there in the top ways to start a sentence.

Glad you had a great experience!

Kichae,

I didn’t plan to view the eclipse over Potato World, but arriving at the hotel and discovering that it was next door did seem like a sign from the universe.

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