Amami Superman Photography

A Place to Share My Photos

Jul 23, 2009

Solar Eclipse in Amami 2009

Posted by Amami Superman

Yesterday was the day of the big solar eclipse. Everyone was excited and anticipated it for months. Unfortunately, it was cloudy. We had really nice weather for the past few weeks, but turned cloudy the night before and actually rained a bit after the eclipse.

We probably have well over 12,000 people visiting the island to watch the eclipse. Just from the news and what friends have heard, a few people were bitten by habu, lots of people arrested for driving while intoxicated and general rowdiness. I even heard some people were hospitalized for eating some plants that were poisonous. It was amazing to see over 50 people waiting at a bus stop when 50 people wouldn't fit on a regular bus here. I heard they had to borrow some extra police from Kagoshima to help out with all that was happening here the past few days.

Since it was cloudy, whenever you looked up to see the sun with your special glasses, all you would see is a blob of light in the sky. For the first 2/3 before totality, you would get some breaks in the clouds and they would be just thin enough to see the actual shape of the sun. After that, the clouds came in pretty think and it was difficult to see any shape at all.

I did my best to take some photos of the eclipse. Just looking up at the sky, all you would see is a blog of light coming through the clouds. I thought that if I closed the aperture all the way and set the shutter speed to something very fast, I would be able to get rid of some of the glare. It seemed to work for the most part and I was able to get a few shots that you can see the shape of the sun in.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 200mm, 1/4000 sec, f/29, ISO 100 -- EXIF
What We Mostly Saw

The above photos is taken with the smallest aperture and fast shutter speed so the dark areas really weren't that dark. If fact, things just looked like a large bright blob in the sky. The low clouds made it difficult to take any photos. I had to time my shots when the lower clouds broke.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 200mm, 1/4000 sec, f/29, ISO 100 -- EXIF
No Low Clouds

Here is a shot just seconds before the eclipse is about to begin. I got a nice break in the lower clouds and this is what I got.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 190mm, 1/4000 sec, f/29, ISO 100 -- EXIF
40 Minutes In

The whole eclipse lasts about 3 hours. You get an hour and a half or so before totality and another hour and a half after. This shot was taken almost half way through the first half of the eclipse. You can see the upper portion of the sun is being covered. I imagine if there was less glare from the clouds, we would see that it was probably covered about half way.

I think it sprinkled rain just a bit without me noticing. After checking out the photos after I got home, I notices spots on most of the photos after a certain point.

One other cool thing I thought to mention, as we got closer to totality, the temperature went down a few degrees. It was almost chili even.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 190mm, 1/3200 sec, f/11, ISO 100 -- EXIF
8 Minutes Before Totality

I was lucky to get this shot. Just a sliver of the sun and the clouds were really coming in thick by this time. You could actually look right up at the sun without the special glasses with all the cloud cover we had. It would have really been neat to see this on a cloudless day.

Nikon D60, Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 @ 200mm, 1/2500 sec, f/11, ISO 100 -- EXIF
Seconds Before Totality

The remaining sun was just a pinprick in the sky. It probably looked a lot bigger than it actually was when seeing it through the clouds. And then just like that, the light completely disappeared and it was all dark. The horizon looked like it would at dusk after the sun has dipped down past the horizon.

When our three minutes were up, the sun came poking back through the clouds. One thing we found kind of funny is, it seemed the sun came back a lot quicker than it disappeared. After that the clouds were so think we couldn't see anything. We had work in the afternoon so we decided to pack things up early and head out before the traffic got too bad.

All in all, it was a fun experience. As I said before, I'm thinking of going to see the one in 2012 up in Kagoshima. Hopefully that will be good weather and we'll be able to actually see the corona.


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Keep the language clean please. I have family that see this. Tell us what part of the world you're in.