Chasing the eclipse

After leaving Charleston and staying close to I-95 overnight, we headed to Branchville, SC where we’d read it was a recommended but quiet viewing town – but the clouds looked bad and getting worse, so Margaret chose to relocate us to Norway which turned out to be a perfect choice giving us not only clear skies throughout the eclipse, but also a chance to do laundry – and a great lunch stop!

The eclipse was even more amazing than we’d imagined, and I’m very pleased with some of the photos I took (especially considering they are all hand-held / no tripod) … amazing too was how it really didn’t get dark till just a few minutes before totality!


Photographing the Sun

In preparation for next month I tried a bit of Sun photography this morning. A filter is essential both to get reasonable photos and to protect the camera; but a lens filter for my Nikon is more than $100!

Instead I found a very inexpensive (<$20) cardboard filter attachment, and tried it out this morning. I think I need some more practice with exposure settings as there’s no detail in the Sun – but the results are much better than with no filter.

Here’s the attachment, and a no zoom photo without and with the filter:

More interesting, some zoomed in images through the filter; the first image shows how the camera struggles to focus with this filter:


I did also try a “welding glass” as a filter but it’s pretty useless, making the Sun green!



With Margaret driving us home this afternoon, we watched the rain get heavier while the sun continued to shine – a rainbow formed of course. But as we got back to Independence the rainbow showed really strongly, with a strong second too; we stopped so I could take photos!



I was very surprised to see the rainbow continue “below” the horizon; not sure if it’s a camera glitch or a real effect!
Rainbow circle continues below ground

Living in Florida

Margaret and I met and lived in Newcastle, England, for a while before moving to America – and we loved living there. Newcastle is a great and thriving city with plenty of entertainment, shopping and restaurant choices including many excellent Indian food options. We lived by the Metro Centre (once Europe’s biggest shopping mall), and regularly saw our friends Sheila & Paul, and Barnie & Dave.
Returning to England recently I was reminded of all we’ve left behind – but also reminded of the damp grey cold weather and the challenges sometimes of driving on England’s busy roads.

We emigrated almost 20 years ago now and spent most of that time in Gloucester (chosen because my work is the next town over, in Essex); we had wonderful neighbors Joanne & Earle and Pat & Dave and we certainly miss them all (we are visiting at the end of this month so another reminder is coming).
But again the extremely cold winters and regular snow shoveling make Massachusetts a place that we finally chose to move away from.

So now, we live in Florida; the Disney parks are less than half an hour away (we can even see the nightly Magic Kingdom fireworks!) and it’s not much longer to make the easy drive to the airport. We’ve not yet formed the same close friendship with neighbors that we did in Gloucester, and Orlando is less accessible for entertainment than Newcastle, but we love our new home – and on days like last night when our evening view looks like this, it’s pretty close to perfect:

It helps too that I can work here (with zero commute) just as efficiently as I could in Essex, and that we can even in the middle of “winter” go out walking in our neighborhood or around the Disney parks in T shirt and shorts.
Of course it does rain here in Florida, but even the rain is often impressive with torrential downpours that leave as quick as they arrive – and since a cold Florida winter is still warmer than a warm Massachusetts winter, we don’t much worry about that!

I’m sure there are many places we’d enjoy living, but right now our new home in Florida suits us just fine.