Sunday, June 17, 2012

"2012 Tokyo Solar Eclipse" - (May 21st, 2012)

To see the May 21st, 2012 solar eclipse in Tokyo, I got up early and went to a park, as I had heard that birds quiet down during a solar eclipse, and I wanted to experience that.  The point at which it was a perfect solar eclipse is shown in this photo (repeated further down the page in the chronological sequence of images).
I mostly wanted to capture the world getting darker on video in order to record the transition from bright daylight to lunar twilight, but as I was taking video with one hand (which didn't turn out very well), I used my other hand to simultaneously take some standard photos, but I was concentrating on other things and trying not to look into the sun (to protect my eyes), so I couldn't see what I was taking exactly.  [Video]
The gradation from bright to less bright was masked by a partly cloudy sky and also took more time than I imagined it would.  The way the sun looked to me during the eclipse was basically like the picture below, and the video looked about that way - so I ended up feeling a bit disappointed about my image quest and didn't even bother to look at the still pictures I had taken with my second camera - until almost a month later, and then I discovered that some of the pictures actually turned out okay and show the eclipse fairly well.
The above picture is how it looked if you just looked up at the sky without dark glasses.  It wasn't until I had put away my cameras a few minutes past the point of the perfect eclipse, that I finally figured out how to use the "eclipse-viewing" plastic I'd bought and saw the eclipse (in real time) for the first time (I didn't realize that the plastic had to be right up against my face).  In hindsight, I'm glad it worked out that way, as I'm not so sure it would have been good for my eyes to be staring through even that dark plastic for very long, and if I had been using that plastic, I couldn't have used both hands to operate two cameras simultaneously.  (I later pulled out a camera and took a few more pictures through the dark plastic, but those didn't turn out very well.)
Since I didn't discover that I actually had recorded the eclipse until almost a month after I'd taken the pictures (that I had expected not to turn out), it was like the old film days - when you'd leave off a roll of film to be developed and not know what the result was until you picked up the prints, and then were very happy to see pictures that turned out well.  (I didn't preview the pictures and only saw them after loading them into my computer.)
The pictures have a kind of strangely dark appearance to them, and might look better with tweaking, but as a record of a once-in-a-lifetime event for me, I didn't want to mess around with them, and so am posting them as-is - (almost) straight out of the camera (although they have been cropped - remember I took them with my left hand while I was recording video with my right).
Scrolling through the sequence, the moon moves left towards dead-center of the sun, and the second to the last (and the top photo) are the point where it's spot on.  (If I couldn't see it at the time, how did I get the timing right?  I noted the reported time that it was set to be dead center and took pictures leading up to and including that time.  It's a good thing I did that, or I might have missed it!)
2012 Tokyo Solar Eclipse - Copyright by LHS
2012 Tokyo Solar Eclipse - Copyright by LHS
Here again (below), is the way it looked if you just looked up in the sky without something to filter down the light.  This picture makes it look almost light a full moon, but the light was much stronger than that.  Rather it was like early evening, when the light is just beginning to fade.  It was an interesting effect - the birds did quiet down (but not completely) and the coming of evening in the morning was interesting, but it was more gradual than I had thought it would be and lighter than I had thought it would be - even with that much of the sun blocked.
Copyright 2012 by Lyle H Saxon

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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