Solar eclipses are rare enough beasts, but one should consider oneself fortunate to find out the day before Christmas that one of the benefits of travelling across the continent for the holiday is to be treated to an unexpected partial occultation of the sun. Back in Los Angeles only a few percent of the sun was covered, but in my home state it was close to a third.

The photo montage above was taken using a Nikon Coolpix 990 at 3x optical + 2x digital zoom through a piece of welder's glass. The silhouetted tree shot was taken between the third and forth pics in the montage. The first images were taken close to maximum obscuration. Note that the first two images are in the correct time sequence; I was holding the camera by hand and introduced a bit of rotation between the two frames. Also note at 1:29 PM the silhouette of a tree limb.

Thanks to Shawn Crosby for taking my montage and turning it into a cool gif animation!

Before I realized I could keep such a good visual record, I tried something a little more primitive...

Punching a few holes in a sheet of cardboard and looking at the resulting image from the makeshift pinhole camera works just fine, though somehown isn't quite as satisfying as other methods.


The two pictures above have no scientific interest, but I thought they looked cool. They're the result of improper exposures while I was working on camera settings.

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Last updated: 1/7/2001 by Robert Hurt