Eclipse 2017

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In case you live under a rock or on another part of the globe and pay no attention to world news – we had a total eclipse streak it’s dark way across the US on Monday, 8.21.17.

It was a media and marketing frenzy…but, given this astronomical event happened directly over US soil, I really expected nothing less.

Don’t believe me?  Just go to Amazon and type in Eclipse – the sheer volume of crap offered at unbelievably high prices is unpresidented.  The last time I actually looked up an offering for eclipse glasses (paper frames, with little bits of black plastic for the lenses) you couldn’t buy less than a pack of 20 – for around $100.00.  Doing the math, that comes to five bucks a pop.

For PAPER and PLASTIC.

Land of the free, and Home of the brave?  Pshaw!  Our new national slogan should be:

If there’s a buck to be had…

 

Originally, I had vague plans to aim a camera at the thing.  If nothing else, an eclipse is a perfect excuse to dig out the big DSLR and tripod, set up in a field somewhere, and try to work on my suntan.

Tell me you giggled just a bit at that 😀

But on the day of the big event, the DSLR stayed home…because Mother Nature has a cruel sense of humor.  On this most auspicious event – she covered my hometown with heavy clouds.  I managed a single sorry shot of the moon covering the sun covered by dull grey.

Best shot highlight

And this was with the little white point & shoot.

Not that I’m against wandering about with my lower-end camera as opposed to the big and boxy/CMOS sensor/interchangeable lens system that packs 10 pounds of accessories in a 5 pound bag…but I digress.

By the time the event was happening, anyway – I had more esoteric tasks at hand…which succeeded quite nicely, thanks to all who sent positive intentions my way.

I knew going in to this very special esoteric project that eclipse energy isn’t the easiest thing to work with.  It’s energy that appears very infrequently – generated when the new moon, normally hidden in the sky, reveals itself while being blasted in the behind by the MUCH more dominant sun, heavily influenced by the trio of planetary bodies in perfect alignment, and focused on a specific spot on the Earth.

In short – It’s akin to highly condensed chaos.

As I wasn’t in the focal region (I’d not have attempted anything if I was in the path of totality) I managed to work with the waves of chaos, find a bit of the Natural in the cloudy sky and sprinkles raining down on me, and set my intentions in my materials.

And here they are:

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Left to right:  Labradorite, Moonstone, Sunstone

The three obelisks represent, naturally, the three celestial bodies doing their thing in the great void of space.  I was quite pleased with the plinths, especially their sizes.  The Sunstone is the tallest of the three, the Labradorite next, and the Moonstone the smallest – a perfect representation of the size of the three objects.

Normally, when I set intentions in a spell, a single set-word emerges from my subconscious while I’m meditating over the object.  Not so with these guys.

I had three words come – one at each of the three stages of the work.

New.                                             Wonderment.                                     Curiosity. 

 

My original plan to bury the stones around my hometown may need some additional thought, though…as if they are in eclipse alignment (moon between sun and Earth) they radiate the chaos energy from the actual happening.

I’ll have to do some additional work on them to make sure the chaos is locked and non-effective before I am confident enough to position them in the Earth.

 

 

I’d like a Supermoon with a Shot of Blood, please?

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Although I didn’t get as close to the moon as I’d have liked to on Sunday – I did get some pretty good shots. What this reminds me of -painfully- is the need to invest in additional good glass for the Rebel – a lens with a zoom capacity which makes you feel like you’re ON the moon.

Unfortunately – the wallet disagrees with this investment, so I’ll have to explore other options.

aIMG_3970For this event, I did some nosing around Waukesha.  I didn’t want to do yet another moon series from the Lakeshore (what can I say…I’m easily bored…) so I settled on a few choice locations within my city and figured I’d make the final decision at the absolute LAST minute just to keep things interesting.

On Sunday afternoon – 4 hours before the event – I’d settled on Minooka park.  It’s on the East edge of the city, with nothing between it and the next town east except some trees – and maybe a farmhouse or 2.  Because it was a huge, tree-y park, there were minimal light sources for maximum darkness.  There was even a little swimming hole I could walk around if I wanted some bloody reflections.

So I drove down to the park, just to scope out the scene.  Might as well claim a good spot while it was still light out, right?

If you pushed the red button with ‘wrong’ written on it – you win bragging rights!!

Wisconsin is weird.  We have all this natural land ‘maintained’ by the State Park System, and they don’t let just anyone wander about in there – you gotta pay for that pleasure, son!  Today – three days later, and I’m still wondering what, exactly, it is that the State is maintaining?  It’s wild freaking land – it pretty much maintains itself…

To make a long story short – as I drove up to the park, I noticed a quaint little toll booth guarding the entry road, with an adorable young fella asking for $7 to get in…unless I wanted the yearly sticker – for $25…  I opted to turn around.

I got spot-blocked 😦

There was some concern. Some slight panic.  Nothing like having your plans change at the quarter-to-ZERO hour…

I spent a bit of time driving around the park.  If I could park off-site, I could hike in.

Hike?  ME????  With a huge bag full of camera gear?????

I can hear ya’ll laughing, yaknow…

Yea – nope.  Not happening.

The next idea had a bit more merit – why not park my butt on the overpass by home? There was a wide swath of grass between the lanes of traffic, it had an east/west direction, and I could capture not just the moon, but some light trails from cars, as well.

Let’s go check it out…

The first concern was where to park the cheep-jeep. The nearest parking areas were, kinda, far away

Read…a walk longer than a block…

but I MIGHT be able to park in Walmart’s lot, and hike across their wide, grassy knoll

eye-roller apology!

Making it to the overpass without breaking a sweat.20150927_154601

As tribute to my burning desire to photograph the blood moon – I plowed across the grass in daylight, getting some interesting pictures before I realized that the terminus between Walmart’s manicured landscaping and the highway overpass contained extremely overgrown grass, thistles, nettles, dead junk trees, and a register-able amount of water.

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I draw the line at requiring a machete and hip-waders to cross terrain!

I settled on a parking spot next to one of the county buildings, and spent the next few hours convincing myself that I COULD walk the rest of the way.

And now – magic time!

At some point between my deciding on the overpass and getting into the cheep-jeep to actually go there, several of the voices in the back of my head decided we didn’t really want the location.  I’m still not sure of the rationale behind it.  Either we didn’t want to walk (very possible), we didn’t want things of Man in the shot (likely), or some other nebulous consideration NOT forwarded to the command center of my brain had made the unconscious decision to turn the vehicle in the opposite direction of the overpass.

I found myself aiming the car downtown while the various factions in my head argued (rather vehemently) over locations.

We had a deal about the last minute thing, guys!!!

One thought some of the downtown buildings might be cool in the foreground.  One sullenly complained about the amount of light pollution bound to be there.  One still wanted to go to the overpass, but was quickly shoved into one of the dark closets in my head…and the lazy one nattered about the Lakeshore.

One demanded frozen custard – to hell with the moon shots!  and Overpass got some company in that closet.

Finally, I told Downtown, Light Pollution and Lakeshore to shut the hell up, let Overpass & Custard out of ta IMG_3861 clean grasshe closet with admonishments to behave themselves, and turned the wheel to my newest greenspace.

Sometimes, ya just gotta put the metaphysical foot down…

Now…I couldn’t use the water, as it was screened by very heavy trees and moving the wrong direction, but the greenspace IS a huge, open, green space with limited light pollution.  And…it was close to my present location so I could get the walk in, set up, and have plenty of time to actually photograph things – which was the goal here.

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I even got a picture of me taking a picture of the moon…thanks to the smartphone I was forced to get a few weeks back.

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It was perfect.  I had some light, scattered clouds but they left the party early, offering an unobstructed view of the eclipse.

……

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I didn’t even mind getting a wet butt from sitting in the grass.