Thursday, September 14, 2017

2017 Solar Eclipse - What it Really Looked Like

What does an eclipse REALLY look like? 

The camera sees things differently than the naked eye. In some cases the camera doesn't do it justice, and in other cases the camera, and photoshop can enhance the image to make it more brilliant than real life
You've seen many beautiful images from the eclipse this summer.  I've been holding back on showing mine. I wanted to document the changes in light, and the feeling as the eclipse came through totality. I wanted to show what it actually looked like to my eye, not what stunning photographs portray it as. The photos you've probably seen show a pitch black sky with a dark circle surrounded by a bright white light. I even saw a stunning image of a rock climber in the foreground and the sunbeams poking out from behind the moon. I'm not knocking these images, I love them, they are great. My goal is to show my true experience to those who did not make the trip into the path of totality.   
These images were taken within seconds of each other during eclipse totality. The only thing different is exposure settings.
Most photos you've seen of the eclipse look like Image B. This allows the camera to get the most crisp, most detailed image without over exposing the sunlight bursting around the edges. In reality your eye will see more like Image A. The sky is bluish grey and looks like a partly overcast day. And even though it goes against every grain in your body to look at the sun, it is safe for the short time it is completely obscured by the moon.

The Great American Eclipse of 2017 was something close enough to home I couldn't miss it. I've been studying astronomy since I was 12 and had to make the effort to see this rare event in an easily accessible area. At first I thought I would drive to North Carolina, about a 9 hr drive from my house in  Maryland. As the day drew closer the weather was expected to be cloudy and chance of rain, I teamed up with a friend who was also looking to head into the path of totality, and we hopped on a plane to Montana, drove to Idaho, and found a spot in the mountains in the direct center of the full eclipse path. This gave us over 2 minutes of total eclipse viewing experience.  To guarantee parking at the trail head we arrived at sunrise to our chosen spot.
We arrived at our viewing spot at sunrise, so I snapped a few photos of the nice golden light as it hit the mountains

My expectations were to see total darkness during the period of totality. This was not the case. The colors became very muted and the look of twilight all around. There was a sunset like glow along the horizon in every direction. But it never got dark dark.

We watched the eclipse in Stanley, Idaho, a little out of the way mountain town in the Sawtooth National Forest several hours from any city. We arrived to our located at sunrise to claim our spot and make sure we could find parking at the trailhead. As the moon's shadow passed over the surface of the earth we could hear whoops and hollers echoing through the valley from the next mountain over and the lake just down from where we set up. The experience was powerful. It was instant excitement from every one around. I went to work snapping photos while still staying present and enjoying this once in a life time moment. The spot we were at had a totality of about 2min 10sec. It started at approximately11:28:19, and ended around 11:30:29. The following photos are my best representation of what the event actually looked like. I did some minor tweaks in Photoshop, but only to try to match as close to reality as I could. Light is a tricky thing, and cameras can often be deceiving.

We met an astrophysicist at our semi remote viewing spot. He demonstrated how you can track the progress of the moon through any kind of a round hole. This would normally produce a round image, but during an eclipse will produce a crescent image as the moon takes a chunk out of the sun.

11:15:33 - As the eclipse entered far into its partial stage the sky began to darken

11:27:59 - As it neared full eclipse it felt like the whole world was being de-saturated of color, the way I would do in Photoshop to an image I wanted to be nearly black and white

11:29:17 - We are now fully in the moon's shadow. It produces this evening glow all around the horizon. This image doesn't show it well, but to our eye we can still see the ground and each other just fine.

11:29:41 This is about what the sky looked like to the naked eye during totality.
11:31:08 - It doesn't last long, the light is already starting to brighten as the sun shines light on the mountains

11:31:10 - There were only a few people on the hill we chose as our viewing spot. We were lucky to be far from the crowds and have such a nice view

11:31:16 - The glow was back on the mountains, the kind of glow you see at sunrise and sunset that makes you want to take a million photos and post them to Instagram right away

11:32:27 - The twilight glow is already faded and we are back to that muted color/desaturated look. It was the quickest sunset/sunrise I've ever seen.

11:33:05 - Totality ended just 2 and a half minutes ago, and already the world is looking like day again

The light changed so quickly every time I took a photo the mountains looked completely different. It was the fastest sunset/sunrise kind of experience I'd ever seen. The feeling of the sun going (mostly) dark was unreal. The experience in the mountains with just a few other dedicated viewers added to the experience.

The physical feeling in my body was also interesting to observe. As the moon covered more and more of the sun I felt a sense of draining energy from my body, like my arms and legs were becoming weak. It was also really exciting. The feeling of experiencing something for the first time, and knowing that you are right in the middle of the path of this phenomena was enough to make you giddy in your shoes. And then when the hills around you erupted in cheers and hollers there was a sense of relief from the anticipation. All in all it was an experience of a lifetime, of course I hope to experience it again when it comes back across the U.S. in 2024, and again in 2045. You can find out where the paths of the next eclipses are on this article by the Washington Post.   


Friday, January 6, 2017

Cambodia Vietnam Pt3: The Simple Life

Part 3: What I observed of the culture during our trip. Simple and honest people.
Vietnamese ladies wearing traditional hats overlooking the fishing village

- The Simple Life -  
After spending three weeks in Cambodia and Vietnam I have observed many things that stand our cultures apart from one another. The simplicity of their lives is so refreshing coming from an American culture where people

Monday, December 26, 2016

Cambodia and Vietnam Pt2: Getting Around SE Asia

My husband and I took our honeymoon in Cambodia and Vietnam.  We knew little about the countries before we went. This is what we learned during our three week trip. Part 2: Getting Around 

-Getting around -
You can go by boat, you can go by plane, you can go by bus or you can go by train. We took every means of transportation other than the train. The most popular way to get around is motorbike and we got the full experience. Buses are very inexpensive, around $5 dollars for a 4hr trip and motorbikes you can rent for about $5/day plus $2 in fuel.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Cambodia and Vietnam Pt1: Food

My husband and I took our honeymoon in Cambodia and Vietnam. We wanted some place warm, inexpensive, and near the water. These countries have all of those requirements even though we knew little about the countries before we went. This is what we learned during our three week trip.  
Coconuts are everywhere in Vietnam.

- Finding Local Eateries - 
Our first morning in Cambodia we decided to find where the locals eat, you know, for the full on food experience. We wandered down some busy streets which lead us to some side streets and eventually we came across a place where many locals were sitting out on the sidewalk under tarps and umbrellas and there was a little stand of some kind of food. No one spoke English, so we figured we found exactly what we were looking for.

We pointed to something on the cart that looked like rice and

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Why I Use DreamWeaver

When building my website I debated about what Content Management System (CMS) to use. The popular ones of WordPress, Joomla, Wix among many others are user friendly, easy to update and require no knowledge of programing. It seems logical that I would use one of these, but since I had once learned how to use DreamWeaver (back before it was owned by Adobe) I thought I would take pride in building my website up from scratch. I've learned many advantage and disadvantage to using DreamWeaver vs an online CMS.

Advantages:  I have full control over my customization. I can create my buttons in Photoshop with the exact look and feel that I want. I have full control over where things are placed, what size they are and it's easy to split the screen between my design and the code basically "teaching" me HTML as I go.

Disadvantages: Every time I want to update even the smallest change, I have to make the change in my html file on my computer, open up my FTP program, and re-upload the page. Everything needs to be programmed from scratch. Now DreamWeaver has a built in system to code things as you design, but it doesn't have apps at your finger tips for placing social media links, slideshows and other useful easy to use pre-sets found in CMS's based on-line.

Since building my site I have created sites for other companies using WordPress, Joomla and Wix and find it vary intuitive and easy to update, but for some reason I am just too stubborn to switch my own website over. I'm sure I have flaws in my programing, my slideshows would look more polished and I'd probably automatically rank higher in google. But what it really comes down to is taking pride in my work, knowing that what I created, I created from the ground up. For me, doing things my ways is more important than doing things the right way.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

How to embed a blog into your website

Last week when I was banging my head against the wall trying to get my blog to appear on my website I finally came across a YouTube video clearly explaining how to embed your blog into your website.

Everything else I read said it was a very complicated process of high level coding. While that may be the case, lucky for us web designers with little to know coding knowledge there are websites like RSSInclude that create the java script code for you using your RSS feed from your blog. It was very simple, took only a few minutes, and now it's easy for me to keep fresh content on my website.

The reason you want to keep fresh content on your site is to boost your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). What this basically means is that google and other search engines rank your site based on the content you have on your page, the amount of interaction you have on your page,  and a whole lot of other criteria. One of the major things the little search engine robots are constantly looking for is fresh content on your page. Having a blog helps you easily post photos and content that people can comment on in the comments sections of your blog which helps to rank your page even higher.

Being ranked number 1 on google's video production list doesn't have to be the main goal. But for Moosey Productions, getting useful information out on the web is an important part of reaching our clients and followers.

Saturday, April 26, 2014