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Monday, May 21, 2012

Rogue Life List: See an Eclipse

I had a VERY FULL day Sunday. Mr. Rogue had to work so I woke up at 6:30am and went on a 7 hour bird walk. After lugging around my big lens and hiking three odd miles I ran some errands. Home Depot and the grocery store took another hour of my day. By the time I got home and put the groceries away I was ready for a shower and some R&R but just as I finished putting the groceries away Mr. Rogue texted me.

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It was 5:07pm and the eclipse started at 5:40pm. In essence I had a half hour to get my camera gear back in the car and get to a place where I could see the eclipse without houses and trees in the way. I took a good minute to debate with myself.

Good angel on the right shoulder talked about how fabulous an opportunity this was. That the next solar eclipse would not happen for sixty years. That this would be a fun nerdy experience that I couldn’t miss.

On the other hand bad devil on the other shoulder lamented about how exhausted the day had already been. I just wanted a shower and a good hour nap. My feet and my arm muscles were already crying with pain from lugging the camera equipment all day.

At the end of that minute I decided I had to go. According to Mr. Rogue’s texted photo I had 32 minutes before it started. Even if I missed the first few minutes I could still catch the rest.

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I called Mrs. Dancer and invited her along, and since Mr. Dancer was home he came too. Ten minutes later we are all piled in my car racing toward the beach excited for our adventure. Mission Impossible style we were geeked with energy; except that halfway there our bubble burst. Mrs. Dancer noticed that the closer we were getting to the beach the thicker the clouds were getting. We have a lovely marine layer effect, essentially the cold air over the water hits the hot air of the land creating the marine layer… aka clouds thick enough to totally block out the excellent view of the sun we were looking for.

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MARINE LAYER COMING IN

By now it is 5:45pm and the eclipse officially started five minutes ago. Mr. Dancer jumped in with the perfect suggestion; we would go back toward the city to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook (aka the Culver Stairs), a hill that had excellent views and high up to see the sun well. IT was the perfect solution if we could just get there quickly. I jumped off the expressway and jumped right back on going the other way. WE WILL GET THERE!

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THE CLOCK IS TICKING

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We made it to the Overlook and quazi off-road parked in a not exactly designated parking spot but at least we found a spot. We raced by the visitor center. And made it to the top with its fantastic sweeping views!!!! HURAH WE DID IT!

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VISITOR CENTER

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THE FANTASTIC SWEEPING VIEWS

At the top of the hill there were dozens and dozens of cameras and nerds galore there to watch the eclipse. People had obviously come more prepared than our hastly prepared adventure. There were blankets, food, coolers; it made me wish that I had remembered about the eclipse earlier so we could have come with all the extras as well. Soon we found a good spot, and I started setting up the camera equipment.

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When I finally got the camera set up that is when I realized the biggest flaw in my plan. I didn’t even think this through correctly. Of course I brought the big lens and the new wide angle lens but I totally didn’t think about something to cover the lenses to protect my eyes from getting damaged. You are not supposed to look at an eclipse with your naked eye because of the damage it can cause. Look through a magnified lens and the damage would be exponential. But that is when I noticed the group of camera guys immediately to our right. They had a full bag of Mylar, the protective covering for camera lenses to safely take photos of an eclipse.

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Needless to say I made friends REALLY fast and soon they sweetly offered to give me a piece of Mylar and even gave me tape and helped to cover my camera lens. New camera friend number one helped me measure enough Mylar for the front of my large lens and new friend number two helped me tape the Mylar on. Sometimes it is really awesome being a girl!

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NEW FRIEND NUMBER ONE

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NEW FRIEND NUMBER TWO

It wasn’t pretty for sure, it looked like aluminum foil slapped on over my lens but it worked FABULOUSLY.

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MR. DANCER AND I

I used my Canon 5D with a doubled Mylar to filter the light. Over the course of the eclipse, approximately two hours (although I missed some of the beginning and some of the end) I took photos at about 1 minute interval. Over the course of time the eclipse happened clouds rolled in so some of the eclipse shots came out clearer than others, also as the clouds rolled in I took off one of the Mylar sheets and as the clouds thickened I took of the other Mylar sheet. By the end of the eclipse, with the help of the thick cloud cover, we were looking at the eclipse without any filters. From the 100 or so photos I took I only ended up selecting 12 of the photos for the final time lapse composite shot. I used the final image of the sun at its lowest point as the image for the overall background.

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THIS ONE IMAGE WAS WORTH IT ALL

Some of my favorite single eclipse shots was one taken with some cloud cover with the 500mm big lens.

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Then two shots Mrs. Dancer took. One of my big lens and camera looking at the eclipse with a side view of seeing the eclipse through my viewfinder and the other of the eclipse using her little point and shoot camera and a small scrap of Mylar. Pretty sweet Mrs. Dancer!

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In the two or so odd hours we were up there we talked with our neighbors and everyone seemed to have some cool new way to look at the eclipse. Some used binoculars and a filing box, others used just pieces of Mylar taped to cardboard. There were other people with various cardboard, paper, Mylar and sun density filters. And then the really fun and exciting tube viewers. Everyone seemed really into the event and it made me happy to see all the creative do it yourself science project inventions.

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BINOCULAR WITH A TRIPOD AND A SMALL FILING BOX CREATED A COOL WAY TO SEE THE REFLECTION OF THE ECLIPSE

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I TRIED OUT SOMEONES SIMPLE CARDBOARD AND MYLAR VIEWFINDER

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OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS AND VIDEOGRAPHERS ALL HAD HAND MADE FILTERS FOR THEIR CAMERAS

My favorite I think was the little girl with her dad. They had made a solar viewer from an old cardboard roll and some paper. She was showing me how it worked and I fell in love with her AND her photo!

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We had so much fun up there. And I adore going with other people who like to take photos. Mrs. Dancer took a ton of shots of me, usually I am the one with the camera in my hand and don’t get candid’s of me usually so this made me happy.

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USING THE LANDSCAPE LENS TO TAKE PHOTOS OF THE OVERLOOK

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TAKING PHOTOS OF THE ECLIPSE

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MR. DANCER TAKING A PHOTO OF ME HOLDING THE ECLIPSE IN MY FINGERS

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MRS. DANCER TAKING A PHOTO OF THE ABOVE PHOTO TAKING

Of course we were also goofing off in between photos. I think my favorites were Mr. Dancer acting like Mylar Man. Not really sure who Mylar Man is supposed to be but he is such a clown it was funny.

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MR. DANCER IS MYLAR MAN

Mr. Dancer started getting cold, we were all getting hungry and my camera started to freak out. It was very obviously time to go.

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TOKEN SELF GROUP SHOT – TIME TO GO EAT!

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I WAS SAD MR. ROGUE WASN’T WITH ME TO GIVE ME A KISS SO MRS. DANCER OFFERED – WHAT A GREAT FRIEND

If I hadn’t invited the Dancer’s I am not exactly sure how this evening would have panned out. I didn’t notice the marine layer when we were driving toward the beach, Mrs. Dancer did, I was too focused on getting us there fast. And then Mr. Dancer was the one who suggested the overlook. I had heard of it but never been there and I am not even sure I would have thought of it. Go team DANCER!

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TEAM DANCER SAVES THE DAY

The sun was setting, the eclipse was now completely covered in clouds, it was time to go. What an incredible adventure.

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OUR LAST VIEW OF THE SUNET

We ended our evening with the car heaters blasting and a trip to our favorite sushi place; a perfect end to a perfectly exhausting fantastically awesome day. I only wish that Mr. Rogue could have joined us.

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SASHITO PEPPER APPETIZER

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SUSHI = HAPPINESS

3 comments:

Jennifer Arens said...

That sounds like a magical day! Loved all the candid and funny photos of team dancer lol

Jess said...

We had a fabulous time even if we were numbed to the bone :) YAY for photo fun! Glad our eyes are still functioning and we got to see such a fabulous eclipse! xo

paul peggy zeus said...

I was so upset that in North Carolina we would totally miss this eclipse. Thankfully, you went and I could share this amazing astronomical even through your lens. Thank you so much for dragging your butt out and inviting the intuitive dancers with you. Love that shot of Ms Dancer giving you a kiss! Priceless!

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