Total Eclipse 2017

Totality.

Totality.

I had the chance to see the total eclipse, and it was amazing! I’d seen a partial before, but never a total eclipse, and the difference is, to use a pun intentionally, like night and day. Seeing the little crescent of the sun through your glasses or projected on a piece of cardboard is really cool, but when the darkness suddenly falls and you see the totality, there is no comparison.

Getting to a place to see it was also an adventure. My niece lives in Savannah and wanted to see it and invited me down to visit and head for Charleston on that day.

But the day before the eclipse Charleston’s weather was looking worse and worse, as was Savannah’s weather, with overcast and storms forecast for the day. We decided to look at the weather the next morning and head for the nearest town in the 100% totality band that looked as if it would be clear.

So we drove north into South Carolina toward Orangeburg, and the overcast turned to big puffy clouds. Then a little further north, and a little west toward where there was more blue than clouds. At about noon we decided we’d better choose a place to stop and have lunch and find a place to sit down to watch. We found the town of Swansea, drove around and saw there was more sky than clouds, people were already settling in to watch at the library and parks, and there was a pretty good pizza place, so got our pizza and went to the Swansea public library to watch with people there.

Someone was very ready for the eclipse crowds!

I did not get the solar filter to use on my DSLR so I would only be photographing the totality. My smartphone would not get the crescent without blur, so I borrowed one my niece got.

Jennifer's photo of the crescent.

Jennifer’s photo of the crescent.

The sidewalks were already speckled with crescent-shaped light, which grew more pronounced as the minutes passed.

Everyone watched the eclipse in their own special way, including working on a tan at the same time.

The light dimmed a bit starting at about 90%, but it wasn’t until it was past 95% that you could begin to tell. I photographed the changing light at 2:34 and 2:35 and even one minute made a difference—to the west it already looked like sunset. Totality was at 2:36 (at least by my camera’s clock) and the light was like dusk, the street lights on and headlights on cars. The last of the sun disappeared so quickly and with it the light, and everyone gasped when it did.

2:34, just a little dim, totality is in two minutes.

2:34, just a little dim, totality is in two minutes.

2:35, darkness just before totality.

2:35, darkness just before totality.

2:36, darkness during totality.

2:36, darkness during totality.

The color of the sky during the totality.

The color of the sky during the totality.

I managed to unknowingly capture a little of the chromosphere around the sun in my photos of the totality. You can see the magenta in several spots. I used my 80-300mm zoom handheld using settings I’ve used in photographing sunsets and the full moon, and I’m surprised at what it was able to catch.

Turning down the exposure you can see more of the chromosphere.

Turning down the exposure you can see more of the chromosphere.

The world brightened again faster than expected and it was more difficult to “not” look at the sky afterward than before. Still walking around with our glasses on.

Can't see anything!

Can’t see anything!

Here we are! Ready to head back home where it was storming! From the left, Cassidy’s friend Christianson, Cassidy (my great-niece), me, Kyler (my great-nephew), Jennifer, my niece.

Here we are!

Here we are!

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