On the road again: Total Solar Eclipse

Exhilarated, excited, frustrated, anxious are just some of the feelings I had the morning of August 21, 2017. It’s now August 23, 2017, and I have all my eclipse images edited and blog ready.

Let’s deal with the frustrated and anxious feelings of that morning. Initially, I was going to use Richard’s small telescope attached to my D3100. We didn’t really get a chance to practice during our stay at Glacier National Park because of smokey skies. I read tutorials on shooting the eclipse, but none were on using a telescope as a lens. I was anxious about that telescope: how do I change the aperture, and what about the proper exposure?

When we went to visit the NASA folks, I saw a guy using a coffee can on a 70 – 300 mm lens attached to a Nikon D3100. He seemed confident that it would work well. I told Richard about it and he fashioned a filter using material from pair of solar glasses and attaching it to the lens hood. It worked great. Now I could use my D7100.

Back to the tutorials! I did get frustrated because they seemed to contradict each other. The worst of all, I really couldn’t work with the tripod. I couldn’t find the sun in live view, and I couldn’t see the live view screen. I saw my reflection. I tried using a loop, but that made it more difficult.

So, I decided to handhold. I knew the risks, but I wanted to enjoy the eclipse. I decided to use my D3100 to capture the crowd during intervals of shooting the eclipse. Actually, it worked out, except for the totality. I did get one good shot of it though.

Exhilaration and excitement came rapidly when the eclipse began. The crowd roared as the sun began to slip behind the moon. There were shouts of joy during each phase, especially during totality. Here are my images from the eclipse: before totality, environmental shots, totality, and after totality.

Right now we are two days from home, and I’m ready to get there. We’ve decided not to do anymore road trips. It’s destination trips from now on. I would say this trip was a great one to end on. From beautiful Glacier National Park to the amazing total solar eclipse. And a big thank you to the small town of Weiser, Idaho. They did a great job with the amount of people added to their community. Oh, I have just one more feeling to add: wonderful!

 

On the road again: A small town gets ready for a big event, Weiser, Idaho

The sky will turn dark this morning as we experience a total solar eclipse. The timing for our trip to Glacier National Park revolved around our getting to a place for viewing the eclipse–a once in our lifetime event.

So here we are in Weiser, Idaho, a tiny town living in the past as much as it can and enjoying it. When we arrived, a children’s festival was being prepared, an adult festival was already in progress, eclipse shirts and viewing glasses were being sold. Around our campground (which is really the lawn of the National Old Time Fiddlers’ Association), there are food and drink vendors. Two young boys are selling popsicles and ice cream.

The field across the street has filled with people, tents and RVs. NASA and MIT have taken spots on the High School’s track.

Right now at 8:20 Mountain Time, there are a lot of people setting up. Breakfast is being sold. It’s a bit chilly, so I’m going to get a light jacket and join everyone. I’m still not sure whether I’ll shoot the eclipse. Reason: I really don’t know what I’m doing. Last night, we fashioned a solar filter for my 55 – 300 mm lens, but maybe I’ll be better off taking photos of the eclectic crowd.

I only have a couple of hours to decide before the sky turns dark.

On the road again: Leaving Glacier National Park

Right now, I’m sitting inside my air conditioned trailer courtesy of the National Oldtime Fiddlers Association in Weiser ID. It’s hot outside and people from all over are coming in to view tomorrow’s solar eclipse. Whether I will be able to shoot it is still up in the air.

In the meantime, I’m going to show you some images from the Going To The Sun Road that are new, a couple from a pull out on the road heading into Idaho and one of a new fire.

I’m glad we went to Glacier National Park. It’s been on my bucket list for a long time. I can wish there was no smoke and no fires, but I’ve learned to deal with what I’ve got. That was my part of the trip and now we’re on to Richard’s part. Not that he didn’t enjoy Montana, and I’m certainly going to enjoy my once-in-a lifetime eclipse.

So here’s the end of Glacier National Park and, looking forward, perhaps, a way for me to shoot the eclipse.

 

On the road again: Two Medicine Lake & Twin Falls, GNP

It was a lot easier coming down on twisty Highway 95 than going up. We left Columbia Falls yesterday and are now in Weiser, Idaho for the solar eclipse.

But, before we get into the preparation for the eclipse, I need to close out our adventures in Glacier National Park (GNP). The first day of no smoke we, fortunately, had arranged to take a boat ride on Two Medicine Lake and hike to Twin Falls. It was an easy 1.8 mile hike each way, but our guide was young and walked fast. We had seniors and young couples with small children with us, and he sometimes had the group lagging behind. I almost had to run to keep up–short legs!

It was an enjoyable hike with beautiful scenery. The falls were nice, but not spectacular. I tried some handheld slow shutter on the wider one. I think I’m saying they weren’t spectacular because it was difficult to shoot. Nature had put barriers in the way and kids were climbing on the rocks.

Coming back, we missed the boat and waited with some others about 30 minutes for the boat to come back. I didn’t mind because it gave me a chance to relax and rest. It also gave me an opportunity to shoot some more of the lake. Of course, I was shooting, out the boat’s open window, all the way there and back.

We had one more day of sightseeing in Montana and a day of re-stocking and cleaning before our trip to Weiser. That will be in my next post.