I dutifully set the alarm for 8 am after the usual late night playing tunes, so that I could see the much hyped total eclipse of the sun. Well it’s not actually total where we are but it was to be pretty damn close. I didn’t have high hopes as there was a thick blanket of fog when I drove home last night at 1 am. Sure enough I looked out the window at as the alarm sounded to a complete whiteout and promptly rolled back over to sleep.
Something woke me up an hour later and made me look out the window again This was what I saw peeking through the haze.
I madly grabbed the camera put the telephoto on and, while mindful of all the dire warnings that I would lose my sight, pointed it in the general direction and fired away. Of course I didn’t have a sun filter so the first shots were completely blown out but the fog was working in my favour and as the slowly diminishing sun peeped in and out I kept clicking. For the technically minded I shot on my Canon 5D Mark 2 at the lowest ISO and on programmed automatic stopped down between 1 and 1 2/3 stops to cut the light. I only had a 200m lens so couldn’t get in that close.
It was an amazing experience as I watched the light fade. As we reached near “total” the fog closed in and there wasn’t enough light from the sun to get a shot. So I turned my attention to the rocks and the sea. It was deathly quiet. Eerily so. I think the word ‘eerie’ must have been coined during a total eclipse of the sun. It was not as dark as I expected but it was the quietness and stillness that struck me. Not even familiar sounds like the birds, which are my constant companions, or the lowing of cows, which only minutes earlier had welcomed the dawn. The only sound was the restless sea and even it was unusually quiet. It lasted about ten minutes as the light gradually returned and I heard the first quack of a wild duck heralding the new dawn.
For a moment the fog thinned and I saw the sun emerge on the other side of the moon. Just for a moment. Long enough to take one last photo. Then as the sun became bright enough to penetrate the haze it was impossible to photograph let alone look at.
In the end I had to be grateful for the fog and cloud. It enabled me to witness something that the gods have continually conspired to prevent me seeing.
Roll on 2024.