The sun’s play with the moon – a total and partial eclipse on August 21, 2017 – jolted us Americans in large part out of our increasing self-absorption and degrading focus on real/unreal slights imposed on us by our neighbors (present and past). The event instead cast us into a community of persons awed by a natural event bigger than ourselves.
This communication with travellers and my global journal members (there still are a few of you) takes a breather from earthbound glories and sores and allows me to join the community of Americans who looked to the sun and moon this week for their main diversion from diversity.
Looking up seems to inspire we earth dwellers. Also, stopping and smelling the roses, or travelling somewhere to look on the world’s natural and manmade wonders, can confer psychological relief from mundane habits and repetition. Our selves then merge and mingle with wonders that are still unexplained. That trip for relief can be a simple walk to the garden or just staring at the sky.
From the Washington D.C. suburbs I witnessed an 80% eclipse alongside friends. Friend FS, with a 135 mm lens (a very modest zoom), was able to capture some of the beauty of the event despite a contest with clouds and raindrops plus thunder.
I share here a few select images that he took on August 21 plus a few remaining undamaged photos of a total eclipse that I witnessed on the Altiplano of the Andes Mountains in Bolivia in 1998. That earlier one was a 4- minute 35-second totality shortly after 8:30 in the morning under clear skies at an altitude well over 12,000 feet.
Alas, totality is a much more dramatic shock than mere partial coverage. Another chance for many Americans to observe the full show without leaving the country will present itself in 2024.
Note: My images were taken here in roughly a span of 4 minutes with a telephoto lens (400 mm). The images of FS were taken over a period of roughly 1.5 hours with 135 mm lens.
Photos of FS, on Monday, August 21, 2017 (medium zoom over a period of rough 1.5 hours (a few selected moments during the transit)
Sunspots may be visible in this darker image
First bite of the Apple