Awesome – Eclipse 2017

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Just got back from watching the eclipse over where my wife works.  (That way we only had to buy one viewing setup.)  It was, frankly, an awesome experience.  By that I mean the original meaning of the word – “extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear”.  (Not the common meaning where it’s an all-purpose expression of praise and enthusiasm.)

At first, though it was cool to look at (through proper glasses), but it didn’t seem to be much…  But as totality approached, even though it wasn’t full totality here, the light grew very noticeably dimmer and the air distinctly chilly.  The light was also of a very odd quality, not the same at all as when the light grows dim at dawn or sunset.  As a photographer, it was very noticeable…  Even the friend who was watching with us noted how spooky it was.  It was very easy to see how people of pre-scientific times would be deeply affected.. The world just doesn’t normally change so fast and then spring right back to its former shape as though nothing had happened.

And speaking of friends, this was different from most any other event in my life…  It happened in slow motion (over the span of roughly two hours), and so there was time to share the experience over social media.  It was… fascinating to read the reactions of friends and family scattered across the country in real-time.  And that’s setting aside all the preparations of the last few days and weeks as people bought the required safety gear and set out to travel to see the event.

All in all, I can’t say I experienced some kind of epiphany…  but I can’t say the experience left me untouched either.  I just can’t clearly express how.  Maybe it’s that part of my brain deep beneath the civilized and educated layers reacting.  I just don’t know, but felt I had to share.

More mundanely, I caught a number of interesting images such as this one – where the gaps between leaves were acting as little pinholes and projecting an image of the eclipse on the pavement:

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It’ll take some post processing work to see if I can make anything of them, but I still found it fascinating.

Anyhow, thanks for taking the time to read this and feel free to share your experiences and thoughts down in comments.

Now, back to the mundane rounds of daily life – errands, housework, and fighting with my now massively overdue Week 5/6 + Midseason Review post.  (Three quarters done, having some writer’s block problems on a couple of shows.)

6 thoughts on “Awesome – Eclipse 2017”

  1. That’s a very cool phot. I don’t think I’d have guessed what I’m seeing, if I’d happened across it without explanation.

    The eclipse wasn’t noticable on this side of the ocean, and I haven’t heard of it until after it was over anyway. I’ve seen a single eclipse in my life. We went out to eat at a restaraunt and sat outside. None of us had glasses as we didn’t intend to look at the sung. The light really is peculiar, isn’t it? I also remember the birds getting excited and then quieting down. Odd mood. It was fun, eating during it.

    Also, it’s interesting to see how language meaning changes over time. Etymologically speaking “awesome” and “awful” were synonyms at some point. Now, if you want to be clear, you basically have to say “awe-inspiring”. The feeling of “awe” is interesting that way, too, isn’t it? It’s a feeling of deep significance, and there’s a sense of being not in control, which can frighten people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, that’s why I’m wondering if I can get anything from them – the need for explanation. The best photos should stand alone without such explanations.

      I’m not surprised you didn’t hear much of it… the only landmass it touched was the continental US. Well, maybe I might have expected you to hear about the country collectively losing it’s mind in a social media driven frenzy… It’s the second one I’ve seen, but I was all of six years old the first time around.

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    1. We almost didn’t get proper protection… I kept putting it off until it was basically too late, then a friend turned me on to an out-of-the-way welding supply place last Thurs and I bought the next-to-the-last set up they had. It cost sixteen bucks, which seemed a bit steep at the time, but I don’t regret it one bit now.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I slipped away from my desk for a few minutes to go outside and take a quick look when it was at its peak (which was about an 80% eclipse in my area), along with about ten of my co-workers. We didn’t have quite enough glasses for all of us, so we were trading around a bit. Our area originally had heavy rain and thunderstorms forecast to come through between 2 and 4 pm, but we got lucky and it held off long enough that we still got to see it. For me, though, working at the public library, we’ve been getting barraged with telephone calls over the last couple of weeks constantly asking us if we had eclipse glasses to give away to the public (which my branch did not, but some of our other branches were giving them out today, and the lines to get them at those branches were spectacularly long). Some days I was taking over a dozen calls a day all asking that same question, and it got to be such a hassle that what I’m feeling more than anything else tonight is relief that it’s finally behind us.

    On a side note, I remember when I was a kid, when Mitsubishi motors introduced their Eclipse model back in the 80s, one of the very first commercials for it mentioned that the next total eclipse in America wouldn’t arrive until 2017, and then adding that this was mistaken (since of course the car was here now). So yeah, thanks to that commercial, I’ve only known this day was coming for about 30 years. Funny the things you remember from childhood sometimes.

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    1. Ouch, that must have been “fun”. Our local paper wanted to run a story on the lack of glasses, but what they posted on their FB asking for people’s experiences kinda left the impression they had them. They had to edit it, and when I spoke to the reporter he started by explaining they didn’t have any (because they’d had so many calls). (I was calling to talk about the problems I’d had.)

      I stopped by the grocery store on the way home after totality, and there was a steady stream of workers coming out to look… One would look, then as they went in handed off the glasses to the next, lather rinse repeat.

      Yeah… I hadn’t thought about the 1970 eclipse in years, even during the run up to this one, but yesterday it all came back clear as a bell. Memory is indeed a very odd thing.

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