Total Eclipse of The Sun

Jul 31st, 2009 | By | Category: Photo Gallery

Somewhere in Asia there was a total, or nearly total, eclipse of the sun July 22, 2009. According to my newspaper that morning, Okinawa was going to have about an 80% eclipse and it would be the event of the century; not happen again for another 130 some years. I figured I’d have to live to be 200 in order to get another chance at it, so decided I’d best try it, now!

Not wanting to go blind in my shooting eye, I decided to leave my big digital camera and 500mm lens at home. I’d use a tripod and my first digital camera (Panasonic DMC-FZ50) for a few good reasons. It’s already had close to 200,000 shots made and probably wasn’t designed for over half that activity. It also has an LCD screen that can be twisted in almost any direction you want and would keep me from looking directly at the sun. Finally, it’s a pretty light-weight gadget that I could throw in a holster and sling over my shoulder. That would keep both my hands free to do some rock-climbing.

Rock-Climbing! If I was gonna risk my eyes on the photo of the century, might as well risk life and limb, too!   So, I slung the camera holster and tripod over my shoulder about an hour before the big event and started climbing. There’s a trail going up the hill, but I knew I’d have to leave it and climb sharp coral rocks to get myself in the position I wanted. Peeking at the sun as many times as I could stand it, I kept climbing…

The sky was starting to darken, just as I knew I was at the exact spot I needed to be for my million dollar shot. The only problem was there wasn’t enough room for me and the tripod on the ledge. Something had to give up space. The tripod won’t stand on two legs, but I could stand on one!

So, as a precaution, I used the strap of my holster to tie myself to a tree. That way I could let one foot dangle off the cliff while I bent over to view the LCD screen and make exposure adjustments. Thirty-one shots later, knees, legs, elbows and hands scratched and bleeding, eyes feeling like I was tortured with high-beams, I was headed home feeling like I outdid Ansel Adams!

The shots didn’t turn out quite the way I had hoped but at least I can say I was there and have the photos that I risked my life over to prove it!

Where were you during the 21st century total eclipse of the sun? In an air-conditioned home watching it on TV? That’s what I plan on doing, next time around!

This is what the 2009 Eclipse looked like from Okinawa on July 22, 2009:

2009 Asia Eclipse

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