From My Carolina Home

Quilting, cooking, reading books, gardening, crafting, sewing, photography and more


56 Comments

An Awesome Day

After months of anticipation, the Eclipse day finally arrived.  Knowing we needed to get up early, DH set the alarm for 6 am.  But, sleep was elusive due I think to a mixture of anticipation and dread.  I dreaded the heat and humidity, hours of what I thought would be boredom, uncertainty of the weather and the traffic going both ways.  On the other hand, it was going to be a once in a lifetime experience for us to see a total eclipse.  I remember some partial ones in childhood, and in my early adulthood, but not the full Monty! We were out of bed before the alarm went off, I had been awake since probably 5:15 am.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

We out the door by 7, meaning to get to our chosen destination of Table Rock Park on Hwy 11 in Pickens County, South Carolina. Going down the mountain was lovely, fog was settled between the mountains and the drive wasn’t bad at all with traffic.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

We were lucky to get to the park while there were still spaces to park. Shortly after we found a spot, I noticed that the cars had stopped coming in. We had made it inside before they cut off allowing more people in. It was still early enough that we decided to do the 1.9 mile hike around the lake. I said it was really 2 miles if you counted the walk from the car to the trailhead. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

Limiting the number of people made a pleasant day, as it wasn’t crowded. There were plenty of people, but plenty of room.   Most everyone was setting up on a meadow next to the lake, where there was a small beach.  Others were up near the road, and others walked out of the park over to the other side of the hwy to the larger meadow near the visitor center.  We decided our smaller parking area in the Hemlock lot was just fine.  There was space at the car for us to set up chairs, and we had shade from the trees around the area.  Best of all, the area overhead looked like we’d have a good view, as long as the sun didn’t dip too low in the west.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

The lake was smooth as glass.  But no breeze made for an oppressively hot day with very high humidity.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

A well marked trail led into the woods around the lake. Of course we used a lot of bug spray before setting out. I didn’t want to start a tick collection.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

Weaving around the trees and lush foliage all in shades of green, we could get a peek at the lake here and there as we went around.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

Table Rock Mountain came into view on the far side of the lake.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

There is a dam with a spillway tucked into the foliage. The grey brick was really pretty with the water flowing down.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

Mushrooms were everywhere, not surprising in the humid climate.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

This section of the outbound creek just down from the spillway had an interesting rock formation.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

We made it around the lake, then went back to our car to sit in our chairs and read until the show began. We kept looking at the clouds, and wondering if we would get anything at all. The clouds were moving around, different levels in the atmosphere were going in different directions, and it was maddening to watch this and wait.  We spent the next 3 hours reading and talking.  We had the small parking lot to ourselves at this point, everyone else had gone elsewhere to watch the show.  So we moved into the middle of the parking area, set up the good camera and watched the sky.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

The clouds gave us a tiny window right after 1 pm and we could see the first tiny bite of the moon’s shadow over the sun. Then it was covered up again.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

A few minutes later, another little window, and then it was gone.  I kept covering the camera with the white towel between runs of shooting the sun, hoping to keep the lens cool.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

The cloud cover kept doing this for a while, until I was able to get this shot without the solar filter as the clouds were just thick enough to obscure the brightness, while allowing the shadow to be seen.  Interesting, isn’t it?  The clouds are showing up as grey shadows, while the blue sky area is white with the sun’s light.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

Then our luck changed, and the clouds broke away completely, giving us an unobstructed view of the incredible celestial event.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

I took 91 pictures that day, but no I won’t bore you with all of them, LOL!!

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

I do not know why the camera picked up all this extra color dots and diamond shapes as the ‘diamond ring’ formation came.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

I think this is one of the Baily’s Beads (in the 10 o’clock position), light coming through the valleys on the surface of the moon just before totality.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

Totality, in full view!

2017 Total Eclipse at From My Carolina Home

It is interesting to see the pictures, and how the corona changes. It is a constantly changing thing, although the changes are subtle between these pictures.  They look at first glance like they are the same, but there are very slight differences.

2017 Total Eclipse at From My Carolina Home

Amazing. The light changed completely during totality losing the yellow tones and going a weird bluish green like a strange twilight on another world. The woods got quiet (while the crowd around the corner cheered).

2017 Total Eclipse at From My Carolina Home

2017 Total Eclipse at From My Carolina Home

More Baily’s beads?

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

We stayed for most of the show, watching the sun re-emerge.

Eclipse 2017 at From My Carolina Home

The drive home took just over 2 hours, as we avoided the main road and went by the back roads up old 25, and through Flat Rock. We ordered a pizza on the way home and picked it up on the way. It was good to take a shower and just enjoy the rest of the evening, reflecting on the majesty of our universe.

If you have the solar eclipse glasses, don’t throw them away.  Recycle them by donating them to Astronomers Without Borders, who will redistribute them to children in Africa who are in the path of the 2019 eclipse.  You can mail your used, certified ISO glasses to:

Explore Scientific
621 Madison St.
Springdale, AR 72762

Did you see the Great American Eclipse? Or have you seen another one?

 

Sharing

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Take Me Away!

Advertisements


24 Comments

Preparing for the Eclipse

The date is getting closer to see the Solar Eclipse, the first eclipse that will be visible across the entire US in 99 years.  For most of us, this one will be a once in a lifetime experience.  It is logical that millions of people will take advantage of the opportunity, but planning will be essential.  The area of total 100% eclipse goes across the country, and everyone in the US will be able to see at least a partial eclipse.  We are planning to travel just an hour to get into the total zone.  Last weekend we did a trial run to scope out the area, locate bathrooms and figure out parking options anticipating that there will be a lot of people with the same idea.

©Michael Zeiler, GreatAmericanEclipse.com, used with permission

Discussing the day, we have made lists of things to do and take for this spectacular day.  I started a bag of things to take, adding to it as I think of things.  Research on other sites gave me some ideas as well, such as taking a white towel to cover the camera so it won’t get as hot being in the sun for hours.  At this point, I think I have everything we might need for a day, and here is our list of essentials.

Sunscreen  – Bug Spray – Special Eclipse Viewing Glasses – hat
Paper Towels – A roll of Toilet Paper (anticipating that will be the first thing to run out)
Cooler with food, water, ice and snacks to last the whole day
Folding Chairs – umbrella – canvas drop cloth and a quilt to lay on
Camera – Solar Filter – tripod – white towel to cover the camera to keep it cooler – extra memory card, extra battery
Books to read, and tunes to pass the time.

Patience.

We got our glasses and camera filter at GreatAmericanEclipse.com, which also has a tremendous amount of information on the eclipse.  Please do not try to observe any of the partial eclipse with your naked eye, even a 99% eclipse still has enough brightness to damage your eyes or camera lenses.  Regular sunglasses are not enough.  When you put on the solar glasses, they are so dark that you cannot see anything through them under normal light, but look directly at the sun through the glasses, and you can see the sun.  The camera filter does the same thing.

Solar Pictures at From My Carolina Home

It is recommended that you take pictures of the sun ahead of the big day so you are confident of the camera settings using the very dark filter.  So, we have been doing just that. DH took this one as our first attempt.

Solar Pictures at From My Carolina Home

This is a picture of the sun through the trees. The camera wants to focus on the trees so it comes out blurred, but the outline of the sun is visible.

Solar Pictures at From My Carolina Home

Forcing the focus to the brighter area, it decreases the light but the edge is now obscured by the trees.

Solar Pictures at From My Carolina Home

I did find that focusing on the edge of the sun gave a sharper line and amazingly a nice gradient color to the sun.

Solar Pictures at From My Carolina Home

If you are interested in the history of eclipses, the NASA website has a lot of interesting information, including interactive maps and major events in history occurring with total eclipses in the past.  Click on NASA Total Solar Eclipse.  The main NASA webpage, Eclipse 2017, has activities, resources, printable pinhole viewers, and information on experiencing the eclipse this year.  A day ahead, be sure to charge your camera battery (both of them), assemble your essentials, and get your snacks prepared.  Here’s hoping the crowds aren’t too bad and are well behaved.

What are your plans for the eclipse?