I learnt about the solar eclipse in early 2016. I read an article about it but over a period of month, I forgot that it was meant to happen in 2017. As July 2016 approached I ordered my solar filters from Israel and I was pretty excited about this astronomical phenomenon, only to realize a few weeks later that it’s supposed to happen in 2017. So finally, the time had come…
I and my photog buddy, MacNeil made plans to head to Madras, Oregon to view the eclipse but the recent traffic congestion reports along the route to Oregon made us change the plans to Idaho. To start with, I acquired the necessary household and work related permissions for the trip. We didn’t plan much about the trip in terms of location except that we are picking up the car from SFO airport and headed to the city of Weiser, Idaho.
We started from SFBay area on Sunday afternoon around 3pm and reached Weiser, ID on Monday morning 5am. That was a non-stop 12hrs drive. Feel really sorry for the car.. I have been through Idaho many times but never made a stop and this was the first time we planned a trip to Idaho. Life seemed to be very slow paced and relaxed but there was excitement in the air and expectations form the day. Small coffee shops stayed opened all night to welcome the visitors and signs were all around for “No Parking” and “directions to eclipse viewing area”. We took a break at a coffee shop and had some interesting conversations with the local folks. Ours was the first CA number plate they had seen that morning and everyone was amused. Someone even introduced us to others saying – these two guys drove 12hrs from California to view the 2 mins eclipse… we all laughed about it and had some great exchanges. Before we could realize it was dawn already, the whole place was swamped with tourists from all around US.
We decided to find our own eclipse viewing spot and so we drove around looking for it. After an hour of research we followed a trail of cars headed towards the mountains and we found the place we were looking for. It was a campground with a lake, a toilet and an ample of parking spots. As I got off the car, the corner of the door hit me on my lips and left a big bruise and swell. And I was thoroughly interrogated on this incident when I reached home.. You all get the idea right?? Life is tough at times….
We had some time to kill before the eclipse and so decided to fire up the drone to get some aerial footage of the campground. It was wide open with lots of balsam roots. We decided to settle our tripods right behind those flowers. Little did we know those bees would keep buzzing in our ears all the time.
Finally the moment of glory had come. The eclipse began at around 9:30am and we could see the moon take a bite of the sun. Well it looked more like Pacman. Really!!! That’s the first thing that came to my mind. So here’s a picture of how it looked like at the beginning. We could see the sun spots very clearly. Do you know all these sun spots have a number???
We enjoyed our time as the eclipse progressed through its phases and we were about to hit the totality pretty soon. We calibrated our camera settings for the grand finale and patiently waited. As the diamond ring started to formulate, the sight was something we have never seen before. It was more like a supernatural magic and at the same time it felt like a sci-fi movie. I watched the diamond right through the camera view finder as it is not safe to view with naked eyes. At this point we could feel, the atmosphere getting dark and the air around us getting cold, just like a summer evening but in the middle of the day!
As we entered the totality phase, suddenly the day turned into night. As we looked up, the moon appeared to be a black circle surrounded by a ring of light. And suddenly all the stars became visible and it was a great mix of day and night. This whole event lasted for only about 2 mins but totally worth the drive from California to Idaho. We tried to take as many different shots as possible. The following image shows the totality phase and one can see the solar flares as well.
So, here’s the timelapse of the day turning into night and back into day. Wait for it….
August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse
As we were approaching the end of totality phase, I somehow forgot to look away from the sun and happened to see the diamond ring formation with my naked eye, maybe for a fraction of a second and again, it was amazing. Never do it!
It was time to wrap up the show and head back to home. Traffic nightmare was waiting for us and we joined the party. We got stuck in Weiser traffic for an hour but it was all clear until we hit I-80West to SF. Luckily, I had carried my Photo editing laptop with me and was able to edit the images while my friend drove and so the images may not look great but the experience surely was.
The next eclipse in within next 10 years, stay tuned and never look straight into the diamond ring, safety first!