Archive for category History

Today in history – Star Trek premiered in 1966

While it only lasted three seasons and that was mostly due to the petitions of fans, it has since gone on to become an iconic and very popular science fiction show that has inspired many that have come behind it.  At Dragoncon it was well represented by cosplayers portraying the series/movie characters in their many incarnations from the original series on up to current movies.  This gentleman portrayed James Doohan/Scotty so incredibly well many, including myself, did a double take.

Live long and prosper!

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Solar Eclipse – Second Image

This photo shows more of the corona as the three shutter speeds merged here are 1/8, 1/15 and 1/60.  If you look closely, to the left of the sun is one little white dot.  I’m not sure if it was a planet, star, space shuttle or space alien but I do know that while observing the totality I did see something moving in the sky.  I wonder….

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Solar Eclipse – A first image

As you may recall, I was unable to acquire a solar lens for my camera so I was only able to shoot totality.  If you were a first time shooter of an eclipse like myself then it was possible that a few “mistakes” were made in shooting.  I had my 200mm lens set up on a sturdy tripod, the shutter release was in place, settings were dialed in (I did 7 shot bracketing) and the lens cap was off.  So did it all go well? Not quite.  When the diamond ring appeared and everyone starting cheering I had a serious excitement attack resulting in my brain “forgetting” how to adjust the head of my tripod; just too excited.

Once that was rectified it was fire away with the occasional pause to change the shutter speed.  I want to do a photo merge of my images but as I’ve never done that before I have a new skill to learn.  This is my first effort using a 3 shot merge of shutter speeds 1/125, 1/500 and 1/250.

 

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The Great American Eclipse in Hopkinsville, Kentucky

The August 21, 2017 eclipse was one that we were determined to see and it was worth the effort not only for us but for the thousands of other people who traveled to the states that experienced totality.  Hopkinsville, Kentucky was the best viewing area for us so we packed up the jeep and drove the six and a half hours total (we did a layover in Louisville, Kentucky) to get to our reserved spot on the grounds of the All Nations House of Prayer.  It was an ideal viewing area as it situated in a large open field behind the church surrounded partially by woods, a few homes and a corn field.  There were no power lines or light posts to get in the way and while the day was very warm and humid, the skies were perfect for viewing the eclipse… except for that one little cloud that covered the sun for a couple of minutes.

People came to Hopkinsville (population of around 32,000 as of the 2010 census) from all over.  In our viewing area there were vehicles from Ohio, Kentucky, Ontario, Arizona, Texas and Michigan.  Many came that day while some came a day or two before and camped out.  The church did a fantastic job in taking care of all of us eclipse chasers; they were all so sweet and helpful.  There were porta potties – color coded pink and blue – a hand washing station and free coffee and donuts in the morning.  On the day of the eclipse they had chips and soda pop for sale along with hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches and turkey legs!  DH took a photo of me diving into a turkey leg but in order to see that savagery you’ll have to check out my Instagram feed 😉

Many in attendance brought their own food, water and snacks with some family groups having enough goodies to open a small snack bar; setting up games to play until the time of the eclipse. The atmosphere was reminiscent of being at an outdoor concert or sporting event.   Some people came by themselves, there were couples, various sized family groups and one gentleman who drove his elderly no longer able to drive parents there to witness the eclipse.  It was also a gear lovers oasis as all manner of equipment was being used to view and record the eclipse.  One fellow, whose father was also an eclipse chaser, had a set of very high powered binoculars that allowed me to not only look safely at the sun but to also see its sunspots. Wow! A young man parked behind us was shooting tethered to his laptop with an app he had downloaded specifically for the eclipse.  The app called out when the different contacts were and counted down to totality; some of us went old school low tech with printed time sheets of those times.

As first contact occurred, the cry went out across the field and everyone put on their glasses and looked up.  The phases as the moon crossed the sun took awhile so some only periodically looked up while others recorded and pretty much watched it all.  The excitement level rose when the diamond ring and then Bailys Beads came into view and then, as the robotic voice of the eclipse app counted down to totality – there it was!  As the saying goes, the crowd went wild!  It was the most amazing thing to ever be part of and the quickest for even though totality lasted almost two and a half minutes, it was over so quickly with everyone once again clapping and cheering as the sun returned.

My original plans included photographing what would be happening around me as totality occurred but that didn’t happen.  I was too engrossed with seeing it all unfold before my eyes and taking those photos.  What I did notice up to and including totality is that the temperature dropped, the sky went from the light blue that happens when the sun is at it’s highest point in the sky to a darker and darker blue until it was night time in the middle of the day; the birds and insects went quiet.

Words just cannot fully describe how amazing it all was and in 2024 when there will be another great American eclipse, we will be there.  I will share my totality photos (I couldn’t get a solar lens in time so there are no other shots) as soon as I can.  What should’ve taken the six and a half hours to drive non-stop back home turned into that same amount of time just to get back to Louisville – which is normally a two and a half hour drive!  The reverse migration turned every road and highway out of town into a five mile an hour crawl.  I am very thankful we were able to find a hotel room to crash in for the night; every other motel and hotel along the highway was sold out with weary eclipse travelers.

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Solar eclipse 2017 – Some tips for viewing and photographing

On August 21, 2017 parts of the United States will see their first total solar eclipse in almost 50 years!  While many would just as soon watch it on the internet or on television, many will want to see this major event (the next one to cross the states will be April 8, 2024) live as it happens.  If you want to be out there watching it as it occurs there are two things you will need, the right location and proper eye gear.  Mom was very right when she said don’t look directly at the sun or you will go blind.  Staring at an eclipse can do major damage to the retina which includes blindness.  There are no sunglasses made even if you were to stack them that will be safe enough for your eyes; make sure you get some eclipse glasses which are reputable. Sadly there are people out there hustling a buck who are selling counterfeit glasses.  Here is an article from the American Astronomical Society which explains where you can get them and how to make sure they are safe ones.  If you haven’t gotten a pair already you may find them difficult to acquire as there has been quite a rush to get them but there may still be some out there; some local libraries are handing them out.  When in doubt you can always resort to the old shoe box method of viewing the eclipse we learned in elementary school.

But what if you are a photographer?  That requires not only proper gear for your eyes but also for your camera lens.  ND filters no matter how many stops or how many you stack are not strong enough!  You will need a specialized solar filter.  Again, they may be all sold out by now but you can try you local camera store or an online store.  Without this filter, just like without glasses your eyes can be damaged, your camera’s sensors can get fried and while not as precious as your vision, that could still hurt a lot.  No matter what type of camera, cell phone, telescope or binoculars you wish to view the eclipse with,  they all need a protective solar filter.  The only time you and your equipment can look at the eclipse without protection is during totality.  Then and only then!  Just make sure you remove your glasses and the filters from everything at that moment or all you will see is just darkness.  Put them back on when totality is over.

So, besides glasses for your eyes and a solar filter for your camera what else will you need?  A tripod to steady your camera for the shots, a remote shutter release to avoid camera shake, charged and ready batteries, extra media cards and either a flashlight or your phone for when it gets dark.  At minimum, a 200mm lens will work but 500mm or more will really get you those shots.  I won’t go into detail about how to shoot an eclipse (I have some great articles listed at the end of this post for that) other than you will be taking plenty of shots, bracketing your shots with shutter speeds ranging from 1/8000 to one second and eventually doing a composite image taking your best shots into your photo editing program of choice.  I highly suggest doing a trial run with your camera to find out what settings will work for you.  If you don’t have a solar filter then practice shooting the moon – not the sun – to get an idea of what image you may get with certain settings if you will be in an area that will experience totality.

This will be an amazing event to behold but don’t become so engrossed in taking photos that you don’t stop for a bit to just take it all in with your fellow watchers; see it and what’s going on around you. I want to see if the temperature goes down and if, as I’ve heard, birds stop chirping.  I intend on photographing the eclipse and my fellow watchers to have a full record of the day.  I’m just hoping that there will be good weather and clear enough skies for it.  Here is one image I took to test my bracketing settings.  I did a 7 shot bracket but this isn’t a composite image.  I shot handheld – which means there was some blurring in all of the images – but it gave me an idea of what settings could work for me.  Whatever you do on eclipse day enjoy yourself and be safe!

 

(If you haven’t followed me on Instagram already at  http://www.instagram.com/imagesbytd  then please do to see my reporting of the eclipse)

Where best to see:

http://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/in_the_path.htm

http://www.eclipse2017.org/xavier_redirect.htm

Tips on how to photograph:

http://www.nslphotographyblog.com/2017/08/planning-to-photograph-continental-us.html

https://eclipse.aas.org/imaging-video/images-videos

http://learn.usa.canon.com/resources/articles/2017/eclipse.shtml

http://www.mreclipse.com/SEphoto/SEphoto.html

 

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The back of history

While the majority of those who visit Old St. Charles meander along the main street, there is something to be said about the back of all of those old and historic buildings… other than the parking lots.  Can you imagine navigating these steps back in 1800’s attire?

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Bun’s in Delaware

A restaurant in Delaware, Ohio that is.  In business for over 150 years; minus the two years rebuilding it after an arsonist destroyed it in 2002.  It’s name comes from the nickname locals gave the original business, a bakery, from one of it’s staples.  Wonder what that staple was 😉

I decided to shoot this iconic sign from the middle of the street instead of from the often seen photo of the sign from across the street leading to the restaurant; happy traffic was very very light that day.  Almost everything was closed in preparation for the 4th of July parade a block away.

 

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