Basking in Totality

At the urging of my son Mark, Michelle and I, along with Mark’s girlfriend Jena, went to visit my brother Jamie and his wife Anna in Columbia, South Carolina.  Columbia is in the direct path of the 2017 solar eclipse.  We arrived on Friday and stayed through Tuesday, with the eclipse on Monday afternoon, and with peak totality at 2:41 PM.

We spent Saturday and Sunday touring Congaree National Park and the Three Rivers Trails System of the Saluda, Congaree and Broad, in Columbia.  Future trips will include visiting Myrtle Beach, Landsford Canal State Park to see the Rocky Shoals spider lily on the Catawba River (late May) and Bomb Island on Lake Murray (early August) to see the millions of staging and roosting purple martins.  The highlight of this visit was Monday’s total eclipse!

We walked outside of Jamie’s home to take it all in, and we saw several neighbors doing the same.

Anticipation grew as we got closer to the totality of the eclipse.

Mark made a hood using a grocery bag, which reduced incoming light and allowed the specialty eclipse glasses to work even better.

Jena experiments with her camera to obtain incoming (waxing) and outgoing (waning) partial eclipse photos.

Michelle takes a break from the action, as the totality will take a good few minutes to pass.

As the moon begins to cover the sun in excess of 70, 80, then 90-perecent, the colors and hues of darkness begin to descend.

Awesome, I’m now ready with my camera, a Nikon D7100 with Nikkor 15 to 300 lens.

A sliver of sunlight yet to go, and even that amount of light was bright!

A cloud was passing as we neared totality, but the cloud was small, and we knew it would pass and allow a clear view of totality.

. . . and it begins.

This photo is about 10-seconds before totality, with this type of picture being called Bailey’s Beads or the Diamond Ring.

This is my favorite before totality photo . . .

. . . and this is my favorite “peak” photo of totality, showing the sun’s corona.  The peak totality really turned-off the sunlight, and we all had to look around and observe the awesome twilight darkness.  The star in the upper left of the photo is Regulus, in the constellation Leo.

All of the street lights in the neighborhood turned on, the temperature dropped, wind picked-up and the cicada’s chirped as we basked in the darkened light.

After a few moments, the moon began to pass on the other side of the sun as it began to wane.

I knew I had only another few seconds before I could no longer take photos, so I took a burst of shots.

Absolutely a sight to behold!

This is my favorite of the post totality photos, taken about 10-seconds past totality.

Thank you Jamie and Anna for being such gracious hosts for our mini-vacation!  The next total eclipse will pass right through Indiana, and we can visit my brother Michael and Donna in 2024!

Baron:  “Dad, can you tell me what an eclipse is?”

Donald:  “No sun.”


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