Did you see the total eclipse that traveled across the USA on August 21? I did!
I live in Cincinnati OH, which was not in the path of totality, so I had to find a location south of my home. I checked out Hopkinsville KY, but by May all of the rental homes in the area were pretty much taken. I was finally able to find a house near Murphy NC located on Lake Hiwassee. It was a six hour drive to get there, so I was hoping it would be worth the drive. The eclipse map promised 2 minutes and 27 seconds of totality.
What a great location. We were near the lake, so my son and his girlfriend could kayak, paddle board and fish. It also had a pool so my daughter could cool off after sun bathing. With a full kitchen, plenty of bedrooms, and our ISO approved eclipse glasses, we were set for the four day weekend.
I wanted to take pictures of the eclipse, but did not know how to safely do this. I studied all the literature, and was able to collect the equipment and camera settings necessary for a successful photo shoot (I used Fred Espenak’s recommended settings for totality) . I even practiced photographing the sun and moon beforehand to be sure that my camera (Canon PowerShot SX50HS) was up to the task. My first pictures of the sun showed spots on the surface of the sun. What I thought was dirt on my Neutral Density 5.0 filter turned out to be sun spots. Wow! I did not know I would be able to see sun spots.
The two and half minutes of totality goes by quickly. I read over and over again that if I wanted to get good pictures of the total eclipse, I had to practice all of the changes in camera settings beforehand to be sure that I could fit all the different features (diamond ring, Baily’s Beads, prominences, and corona) into the short timeframe. This I did about twenty times before the actual eclipse. I know this sounds nerdy to many of you, but what can I say? I’m an engineer!
The only variable I could not control was the weather. I was hoping for a few openings between the clouds to get a few shots of the partial and total eclipse. Was I ever lucky. The entire three hour event was cloud free. From start to finish I had a clear view of the sun and moon. Here is a montage of the astrological event.
And yes, I was able to take pictures of a diamond ring,
and the corona.
I had read that small dots of sunlight that filter through the trees will take on the shape of the sun as it is eclipsed by the moon. Sure enough, the sunlight on the ground became crescent shaped, just like the shape of the sun before totality. Amazing!
So my four day weekend was perfect. I spent a few days with my family, and I got to witness (and photograph) a total eclipse of the sun. I cannot wait for 2024, when a total eclipse will pass within a few miles from Cincinnati. See you then!