The Great Solar Eclipse

Mon, Aug 21, 2017

Today’s the big day and we have clear skies here in Redmond, OR for the 9:06 AM start.

I’ve been practicing by shooting the sun the past few days.  Been playing with exposure, settings, etc and at different times of the day.  But the morning is where it’s at and I’ve settled on 1/1000 sec, ISO 200 and f8.

I’m shooting my Nikon D800, 200mm f2 lens coupled to my TC-20E III teleconverter giving an effective 400mm focal length.  This is a full frame camera but I’ll be shooting in DX mode to reduce the file size since all of the shots will be cropped anyway.  I used a Baader solar filter that’s known for sharpness.

The sun has a solar cycle in which the sun spot activity varies from its minimum to maximum.  The period is 11 years and unfortunately we’re right at the minimum.  So I was pleased to see some sun spots since there weren’t any a few days ago.

I took ten photos showing the progression of the eclipse.  The sun’s natural color is white but I’ve colored it yellow to give a more pleasing image.  Here they are:


Sorry no pictures of totality but it was spectacular and eerie at the same time.  Can’t wait to see it again.

Eclipse Sun Rise

Mon, Aug 21, 2017

We woke up this morning excited as if it were Christmas for an 8 yr old.  Went outside to check it out and there were clouds to the east.  Uh oh 😦

No worries as the eclipse was still three hours away and sure enough, the sky was perfectly clear by the 9:06 start 🙂


Eclipse Day Minus 1

Sun, Aug 20, 2017

We’ve regrouped with our Baja friends, the ’86ers’, at a site near Redmond, OR.

We’re about 25 niles south of Madras in the southern part of the path of totality.  We’ll have about 48 seconds of darkness instead of the 2-1/2 minutes further north.

As many of you may know, there are several large forest fires burning to the west of us.  The wind forecast is favorable and we don’t expect the smoke to affect us.

Here’s a shot looking down the street and that’s the smoke.  Thank goodness for the northerly wind. 🙂


The Milli Fire

Thu, Aug 17, 2017

A wildfire burning near the Sisters Wilderness Area in the Deschutes National Forest grew overnight, leading communities nearby to plan for evacuations.  The Milli Fire has grown to 3,500 acres with no containment.

Last night, we began smelling smoke and we woke to ash in our Airstream.  For some reason, Airstream decided to use screens with mesh that’s a little too big for my taste.

Here’s my camera that was sitting by the window.


With thousands poring into the area for Monday’s eclipse, this could be real bummer 😦

Floating the Deschutes

Wed, Aug 16, 2017

Carol and I went to Bend’s Old Mill District for a cold one.  So called because the area was formerly occupied by two lumber mills.  It’s right on the Deschutes river, naturally, since the lumberjacks floated the logs down the river to the mill.

The river is the main attraction in Bend and boy do they know how to use it.  Check out this crowd on a lazy Wed afternoon.  Wonder what its like on the weekend?


Oregonians Sure Love Their Outdoors

Mon, Aug 14, 2017

We’re settled in the Crown Villa RV Park in Bend, OR and we sure are enjoying it.

Bend is on the eastern edge of the Cascade Range where the Ponderosa Pine forest transitions into the high desert.  That means warm days and cool evenings.  Not as nice as California coastal weather but last night’s 46F sure was welcomed after last week’s high 90’s.

One thing I’ve noticed is that nearly every SUV has a rack for bikes or kayaks or some other toys.  There are even surfers enjoying the rushing water of the Deschutes River.

Check it out.


Falls at Klamath Falls?

Sat, Aug 12, 2017

We’re camped in Klamath Falls and I’ve been wondering ‘where are the falls’?  So I hopped on my bike this morning for a look.

There’s a river that connects Upper Klamath Lake with Lake Ewauna and that looked like the spot.  But when I got there, all I saw was a little damn and hydroelectric power.  So that’s it?

A google search of ‘are there falls in Klamath Falls?’ pretty much says ‘no’.  But there were rapids back in the day.

Here’s what’s left of the falls:


The Solar Eclipse

Thu, Aug 10, 2017

Carol and I have spent a week back in Marin and it’s been super nice.  Morning fog to keep the temps down and afternoon sun to warm your heart.  We love coastal weather 🙂

We’re getting our ducks in a row for the upcoming solar eclipse.  I’ve never seen totality but the path crosses Oregon on it’s way to South Carolina.  We aren’t going to let this opportunity pass us by as we’ll be heading up to Bend, OR.

I’ve ordered my solar filters and will be shooting with my Nikon D800 and 200mm lens.  I also have a 2x converter so the effective focal length will be 400mm.  This is short by comparison to the telescope guys but it’s the best I can do.

Here’s a practice shot with a small sun spot clearly visible.


Back Home in Marin

Tue, Aug 1, 2017

After three and a half months, we’re back in Marin County, CA.  Our Alaska adventure is over.

To recap, we left Marin on Apr 15 and drove up the west coast and then to Vancouver Island and on to Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper National Parks.  Then to Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway and on to Anchorage, the Kenai Penensula, Denali, Fairbanks, the Inside Passage and back to Marin.  We drove 7,634 miles.  Alaska is a long way away.

We were fortunate to see a lot of wildlife including, brown bears, black bears, eagles, moose, caribou, fox, trumpeter swans, ptarmigan, humpback whales and a host of other critters.  We did not see wolves or orcas, two species on my never-seen list.

There were inconveniences including lack of cell service and wifi, torn up roads and the Dish TV blackout.  Minor inconveniences actually.

For now, we’re going to take it easy in Marin and then head back to Oregon for the Aug 21 total eclipse of the sun.