Steal My Sunshine

Ooooooooooh!

And so the big event has come to pass.  The first total solar eclipse in the continental US since Jimmy Carter was President and disco was actually a thing zipped through the country at about 8 million miles per hour (give or take a few million).  I had known about this date with destiny since I’d heard it mentioned on a newscast sometime when I was still a kid, at least 30 years ago.  And though totality was just a short 15 mile drive south into the path of madness had I so desired, I chose instead to catch the almost total show from my very own backyard.

You can stick around and watch it with me if you want, little buddy.

Despite a dreary forecast, and a very clouded sky when I got off work at 7 in the morning… it almost immediately cleared up and stayed sunny for the rest of the morning!  With this stroke of good fortune, I grabbed my $1 Mecca eclipse glasses, my crappy old camera with terrible zoom, a chair and a Pepsi and camped outside my back door at 11:50 when the eclipse was set to begin.  Let’s see what we can see through these modified 3D spectacles…

Did the sun just explode into a supernova?

OK, that’s just what my camera saw through the eclipse glasses… the view with my eyes was much clearer than that.  Guess I can forget about trying to get any photos of the actual sun.

Around 11:52, just after when they said it would start, there sure enough was a very small nibble out of the northeast corner of the sun!  You know I am easily amused, and I can just as easily be excitable… and I certainly was.  The accuracy with which eclipses can be predicted years, centuries, and even millennia into the future absolutely astounds me.  Here we are on this far off, “I’ll be an ancient 42 years old then so it’ll never come around” date that I have had circled on my mental calendar since the mid 80’s, and sure as shit, there really is going to be an eclipse!  This is amazing!  Nothing can ruin this moment for me!!!!

Errrrrrrrrrrrrr……

Seriously?  Dafuq do you think you’re doing, stupid cloud!  Get the hell out of here and give me my eclipse back!  OK, maybe I’m overreacting to one small cloud that’s briefly passing by.  It’s not like there are a bunch of reinforcements on the way….

Son of a bitch!!!!!!!!

And so about a quarter of the way into this (almost) once in a lifetime event, the clouds decide to come out in full force again.  A whole fucking line of them, moving directly over my view of the sun, while off to the north the sky remained crystal clear.  This isn’t fair!  Life isn’t fair.  The clouds didn’t give a shit that anyone down below was trying to watch what happens when three heavenly bodies attain perfect syzygy.  Despite what the Super Mario games may have wanted us to believe, clouds don’t have feelings and they give zero fucks.

I wasn’t too happy at this point, believe you me.  But then I noticed an interesting way I could take advantage of the unwanted cloud cover to actually get some direct photos of the eclipsed sun…

Is it the sun or the moon? Both, actually!

Because the clouds were of mixed thickness, there were multiple moments where they filtered just enough of the sun’s harmful rays to allow for direct viewing without distorting the telltale shape of the eclipse.  Kind of a naturally occurring projection system, if you will.  Awesome!  And if I can look at it without going blind, then my cheap camera should be able to as well!  I’ll make some damn lemonade out of these crummy lemon clouds…

The moon and the clouds now make it a double eclipse!

As the sun slowly vanished behind our giant block of government green cheese, the lighting obviously got dimmer and dimmer, creating some weird effects…

I’m not really sure what’s going on here… but the sun shining off the top of that cloud looked really strange to me.

And speaking of strange looks….

This may be the sky over my backyard, or just the portal to Hell.

Yep, it’s definitely getting darker… and the ever increasing cloudiness is only helping to make the dramatic climax even dimmer.

Cat claw in the sky!

By 1:05, 10 minutes prior to what would be our maximum eclipse, it had gotten sufficiently dark enough to start fooling things into thinking it was sunset.  Like my neighbor’s solar path lights…

Yeah, it was so dark that my crappy camera didn’t even have enough light to take a decent photo at 1 in the afternoon!

The streetlights soon followed. And then….. well, remember what I had pondered about Saturday?  Wondering how animals and their sensitive biorhythms would react to the sudden darkening from an eclipse?  I actually started audibly laughing when I heard the locusts cicadas start chirping away as they normally do every summer evening!

No, I don’t have a picture of that…. but here’s a cute little bugger I stole off the internet to stimulate your optic nerve.

We’re just about to our scheduled 99.5% eclipse!  Is it too dark for you?  Are you scared yet?

All I can think of is the intro to the classic Castlevania Nintendo game.

Let’s give those eclipse glasses another try with the camera now that there’s not much left…

Will the real sliver of the sun please stand up?

The clouds didn’t give me many good looks at near maximum, but I was able to get a couple final waning crescent shots before the big finish got totally shut out…

Just about there…

Naturally, once the sun became almost entirely obscured by the moon, the tiny piece still left wasn’t going to show up well through even the thinner portion of the clouds.  But here is the thinnest slice I was able to get a glimpse of… and since it’s almost impossible to spot if you don’t know what you’re looking for.  Heck, even circling it isn’t really helpful… but you can just make out the razor thin slice in the center of where I marked…

John Maddon never had an eclipse telestrator…

The following shot was taken at 1:16, which pretty much coincided with the pinnacle of our eclipse event.  As you can see, there is….. well, nothing to see.  Other than to notice the oddly dim sunbeams coming from the very darkened clouds, as well has how the sky’s blue has almost a sickly blackish tint to it…

Just think how boring these pictures would have been without all the annoying cloud cover…

Just a couple minutes later, and I’m able to spot the sun again.  Though it’s clear the show is now winding down because it’s slowly beginning to lighten up again… and the opposite corner of the sun is now what is visible…

Kudos to the jet that flew by during this shot. In fact, I noticed a lot of planes in the air while I was outside… one even passing its shadow over me!  I wonder if any of them were Lear Jets being flown by vain people…

And while I might have normally stayed out to watch the sun return to its full glory again, I didn’t figure there would be much to see since this was rolling in from the west…

I’m going to have to ask for a refund on the second half of the show.

So I went back inside and left the sun and moon to part ways until they meet again very near where I live on April 8, 2024.  I did get to see the sun hide away, watch it get just past twilight dark for a couple minutes, and also got to enjoy a small respite from what was shaping up to be another hot and muggy day…

A five degree temperature drop! We need solar eclipses every day during the summer.

I hope you enjoyed my shitty eclipse photography, and I’ll try to bring you the same when the next one rolls around in seven years.  I know you can’t wait…

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About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
This entry was posted in Picture Day and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Steal My Sunshine

  1. We only got a nibble out of the sun AND clouds, so there wasn’t much to look at. We’ll have to wait, assuming we are all still alive in 7 years … for the next one. In 2024. But I DO remember the last one in the 1970s and that was a big deal because we had a nearly full eclipse all up and down the eastern seaboard. The next one should be nearly as good … if we are still here.

    • The 70’s were rife with eclipses over or near the US, and the one you remember (and Carly Simon as well) was from 1970. The next one will be much closer to you, and we all certainly hope you are still around to see it! But it’s in early April, so I guess you have to hope it doesn’t snow…

  2. Well done you! You captured some interesting effects – we had a similar thing going on with perfectly PERFECT skies until right before the eclipse was to begin – clouds moved in but also moved on……then another one came at about 1/3 of the way through our 81% eclipse……and STAYED until about 3/4 then departed……so I did get to see a lot of stuff through my special glasses and was WAY MORE fascinated than I thought I would be. I really was……!

    Pam

    • It’s hard not to be fascinated with all of the neat things that happen during an eclipse! Watching the sun take a crescent shape (Even if you can’t look at it directly), and the cool lighting tricks that happen if you get enough of an eclipse that it visibly affects the amount of daylight. I’m intrigued enough to want to see the next one as total, but I’ll have to do a little driving (at least 40 miles or so) to make that happen…

  3. I too was foiled yet aided by the clouds in my attempt at (blindness) snapping a couple of photos. I managed just the one beaut that I posted. You hit a relative jackpot considering the conditions so kudos and thanks for sharing. I’ll be better prepared for the next one for sure.

    • I really hadn’t considered how beneficial the clouds would be to actually getting pictures (Since my camera didn’t want to focus on the image through my eclipse glasses)… though they did keep me from getting to see exactly what the sun looked like at 99.5% coverage. At least I was able to enjoy a brief mid-evening sky in early afternoon!

  4. Actually I think the clouds make it better. Cloudless eclipses are just for NASA. 🌘

  5. Merbear74 says:

    Castlevania! I was never able to beat that game, I had a limp whip…
    Awesome pictures, I didn’t see anything near as cool as you captured on your shitty camera! I was driving in a car when it happened, though.

    • I knew you would respond to my Castlevania reference…

      Contrary to what I was led to believe, the world did not stop for the eclipse. In fact, some maintenance people showed up at the abandoned house two down from me to do some work on it in the middle of what was happening (Did they know they were gonna need flashlights for a while?). So taking a drive during your limper eclipse seems perfectly natural…

  6. Trisha says:

    We had the opposite experience here – we woke up to fog. FOG! In the summer. We never have fog in the summer. But it cleared in plenty of time for the eclipse, although we only got 90-95% here so we didn’t get to experience night time in the day time. But it was still really cool!

    I’m sorry the clouds obscured some of your eclipse but I really enjoyed your commentary on their arrival. I seriously laughed at loud. That first cloud looks so wispy and innocent, I would never have suspected it would be bringing in reinforcements. You got some really cool photos. I didn’t get any of the actual sun or moon since we didn’t have proper eclipse viewing gear. I’ll post the photos I got of the weird shadows though. My migraine-scrambled brain is still trying to figure out how the eclipse caused crescent-shaped sun spots on things….

    • We only get fog here in the summer on unusually cool mornings (Like right now), but we’re only enjoying that nice weather because of what moved through that hampered my viewing! Anything in the 90% range is enough to make it noticeably dimmer, so I look forward to seeing your weird shadows. I also think my camera made some of my photos look a little more forboding than they actually were… but still pretty cool for completely un-enhanced pictures!

  7. totally awesome post….and the photos arent shitty they’re great! a few remind me of what photographers around here captured. we were at 86 % and in 2024 are supposed to be at
    99.9, I say round it to 100 and call it a day. clouds passed by, did get a glimpse of the sun/moon around 3/4 and it was like WHOA how cool is this. 😀

    spent the afternoon NOT working thiugh no one in the building was actually, watching the final
    hour on NASA’s website and they got amazing footage. watched SC go from night to day in
    2 something minutes.

    best damn show I’ve seen since the moon illsuional I caught a few back!

    thanx for sharing! ♥️♥️

    • and guess I cant spell less Im talkin trout! thats supposed to be illusion~~~~

    • You must be right on the outside border of the next one like I was with this one! That one just misses me too, though by about 30 miles this time rather than just 10. Eclipses unfortunately don’t do rounding, so I didn’t get to see total darkness, but might make the adventure to see it in 2024…

      You’ll have to tell me about this moon illusion…. I am intrigued!

  8. ghostmmnc says:

    I like your photos, and your commentary! We had overcast clouds for the whole time. Took a photo anyway…of the clouds. 🙂

  9. the clouds of your pic (eclipse11.jpg) have the shape of a squirrel (or a hamster) holding an acorn… if that isn’t a real sign for something than nothing is…

    • You had me looking and looking and looking….. and then I finally cocked my head to the side and saw what you saw! That’s actually the shape of the clearing in the clouds, so it’s even better!

      • i sent it via mail to you ;o)

      • OK! You said #11, and it’s the cat claw picture which is (out of order since I posted it Tuesday) #1! I see it now even without the tracing! Though it’s funny how, if you look at it right, the bright light spot in #11 does kind of look like a squirrel on all fours with the (brownish colored blob) acorn in its mouth too…

  10. draliman says:

    Very cool pics! I bet there weren’t any clouds 15 miles to the south, though…

    • I haven’t had the heart to look at the weather conditions for points south, but I’d bet they were dealing with much the same thing I was since it was the northern half of the sky that was cloudless. The clouds kinda ambushed me at the last minute anyway…. you know, just what i should have figured would happen.

  11. Quirky Girl says:

    Those are some awesome pictures! So what if the clouds obstructed the view of a much anticipated natural phenomena? You managed to catch an even more rare glimpse of the portal to hell! 😜

  12. Other than a strange hue outside and the media hype, you wouldn’t have know it was happening here. I watched Downton Abbey instead. In 7 years, it passes fully over my corner of the world, so I’ll try to dazzle you with my photos then! 🙂

  13. I loved this post. I watched the full eclipse up in Oregon. We started out at the coast and drove up the hill to get out of the fog. Wow. It was amazing.

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