Monday, May 21, 2012


by Greg and Trina

Yesterday's annular eclipse was temptingly close. With a "mere" three hours of driving, we could have put ourselves in the path of the full event and could have seen the Ring Of Fire as the moon passed in front of the sun, leaving only a ring of sunshine visible. -- And by visible I mean "Don't look at it or you'll go blind." Three hours? And then back? For a total eclipse, we'd have done it for sure. Annular? Maybe not.

Instead, we opted to mix a little singletrack with an as-good-as-we'd-get partial eclipse. We headed for the top of a local mesa with a piece of welder's glass to filter the brightness out of the eclipsing sun. Did a little early spring riding. When the light began to look strange and shadows started to seem extra crisp, we made a pinhole projector from a leaf and saw the crescent of sunshine in the shadow on Trina's hand.

Notice the crescent of light in the leaf shadow on Trina's palm?

Then we got out our welder's glass* and camera and took a filtered look at what was going on. The dark moon passing between us and the sun had taken a big bite out of the sun's disk. Cool! Filtered green by the glass. Interesting. But we're highly biased photographers and prefer our shots to have either mountain biking (dirt) or dogs in them. So using our glass filter, we did what we could to get our favorite subject matter in the shot - and a partial eclipse.

The result is a little quirky and, I think, interesting. Draw your own conclusions.

*Tech note: Welder's glass #14 is considered dark and filtered enough for safe eclipse viewing. The hardware store was sold out of #14. Instead we got #12. We couldn't safely look at the sun. Instead we used the indirect "pinhole projector" method. And let the camera look through the filter at the sun. Which seemed to work fine. And hopefully we didn't burn any holes in the camera sensor.

Then the eclipsing sun dropped into some scud on the horizon. Leaving us with dirt. Dog. Sunset.