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The Center Of The Line Of Totality

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 21, 2017 by johnbuckley100

Eclipse T Frenzy-11All images Leica SL and Various-Elmarit-SL 24-90 ASPH

We’d started planning on being in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for the total solar eclipse more  than two years ago.  The Path of Totality was to take a diagonal line from Portland, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina, but its path across the Tetons made this most beautiful of Western destinations pure catnip, and we knew we had to be there.  As the day approached, and with expectations in Jackson — a town of 10,000 — for Woodstock-like crowds, there was anxiety about where to be, and how to get there.  With the first contact beginning at 10:16 AM, and the Totality — that minute or so when the Moon completely blocks the Sun from our sight — expected at 11:34 AM, we left our house at 6:30 AM for what ordinarily would be a 15-minute drive across the valley.  We wanted to be as close to the center line as we could get, and of course we weren’t alone.

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Traffic came to a complete stop heading north from town, and since the one thing we dreaded most was being stuck on the highway during the eclipse, we contemplated turning around. After all, the sky is big and we had a perfect view from home across the Snake River.  But it was a temporary stoppage, and we were soon walking toward a bluff above the Gros Ventre River from where we would take it all in.

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People were already setting up along the ridge line by 7:15 AM, three hours before first contact.  While the sky to the West was clear, there were clouds around the sun as it rose to the East.

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Cars stretched back for a mile or more from the bluff where we set down our gear and seating, and enough food to last a day.  We often find our way on a summer’s evening to precisely this stretch of road, as along the river, there’s often an assemblage of male moose, and on  a warm night, as the Moon comes up over the Sleeping Indian — one of Jackson Hole’s visual landmark’s, a rock formation more properly called Sheep Mountain, resembling an Indian chief in headdress reclining — it’s as pretty a place to be as there is in the West.  But it was odd to be here in the morning, and in a crowd.

Eclipse T Frenzy-14Our assembled team was ready, and we willed away the clouds that might have obscured our view.

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At 10:16, with Eclipse glasses on, we could just begin to see the Moon cover up a portion of the upper right side of the Sun.  Within twenty minutes, as the Sun rose higher in the sky and the Earth rotated, the Moon could be seen as an object clearly closer to us than the Sun, creating the visceral sense that the Moon was somehow pressing itself between the Sun and us.  If you think about the odds of the moon being precisely the size that it could blot out the sun from our view, the miracle of what was to occur, the transcendence of the event, loomed large.

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It began getting chillier as the Moon covered up more of the Sun.  The light got flatter — we’d expected something like the ordinary course of the Golden Hour occurring, but in some ways it was the opposite, as color — and light — was bleached from the sky, not intensified as it normally is before sunset.  The Solar Eclipse app we’d downloaded let us know that the Eclipse was now just 15 minutes away and we braced to notice the changes to our visual environment as the disk of the Moon ultimately completely blotted out the Sun.

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The light took on what only can be described as an unearthly glow.  I have never seen light with that hue or quality.

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It began getting darker fast.  I turned around and now could see above me the Moon completely centered on the face of the Sun.  The Eclipse glasses were no longer needed.

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It was now not quite nighttime, but very dark all around us.  I decided it was dark enough that I could take a picture of the Totality above.

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It is a camera’s job to inject as much light as possible into an image, and the shot above has been further lightened a bit to showcase the effect of the Eclipse on the Wyoming landscape.  Time was now moving very fast, and the promised two minutes of Totality seemed to be going by in an instant.  Between trying to take pictures, viewing the Totality without the glasses, having to put the glasses on when the Sun’s light shot out from the right side of the Moon as it now began moving away from its position covering the Sun’s face, everything seemed to be moving very fast.  And still we we were able to stare right at the Totality, and take in an event that live is so much more powerful than a photograph can convey.

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Within moments, the day had begun all over again, and there was a second sunrise.  Or at least the Tetons were once more glowing from the return of the Sun.

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Very soon, it began getting fully light again.  The temperature having dropped precipitously as the Sun was being halved by the Moon, it once again began to get warm. Giddy from the experience, we circled one another in fellowship, in shared experience, immediately regretful we’d not been able to fully absorb what was happening in the all-too-brief time in which it was happening.  Experience again became familiar.  We were exultant, and because we’re human, regretful: why had this experience, so fast upon us after years’ anticipation, gone again so quickly?

We will spend the rest of our life remembering what it looked like during that brief moment, when by naked eye, we saw the Moon fully within the circle of the Sun behind it. We wish we could say time stood still, but it doesn’t, it roars on by, leaving us changed, and with memories.

If You Like Moose — And Who Doesn’t? — You’ll Love This Story

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on July 8, 2017 by johnbuckley100

Moose Story-14

All  images taken with the Leica SL

Last summer, my wife and I returned from an overnight trip to Yellowstone to find these guys hanging out around the house.  They looked a little guilty, like thieves caught eating our trees.  Which of course they were.

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Once we got into the house, we actually were stuck there, because we couldn’t sneak out for dinner without worrying about whether we were disturbing the moose mama and her young calves.

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She had two young ones with her, and after a while we were able to get out for dinner.  We saw them in the neighborhood over the few weeks of summer we are able to sneak away to Wyoming.  The young ones got bigger before our very eyes.

By the time we came back for winter skiing, the mama moose was there, but where were the young ones?

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It was a brutal winter, with high snow drifts.  And while the mama was comfortable around the house, we worried for the calves.

Until yesterday, we came home and found these guys.

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Last year’s calf is now a mama, with a moosekin of her own.  We don’t know where the grandma is, nor what happened to the current mama’s sibling.  But we are so glad to see this third generation of moose arrive, and look forward to next year when, we hope, this young calf comes back with her offspring.

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Capital Pride Parade 2017: A Photo Gallery

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 11, 2017 by johnbuckley100

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All images Leica M10 and 35mm Summilux FLE

Since Trump’s inauguration, we’ve taken to the streets, camera in hand, to capture the energy he’s unleashed.  The crowds have been determined — to fight back, to remove him, to save the nation and the planet — but it’s been pretty joyful, all in all, from the Women’s March through the Climate March and the smaller ones like last week’s March for Truth.  Even those spontaneous demonstrations following the Muslim Ban were filled with fellowship, if not precisely happiness — people smiled for the camera, they were glad to be counted.

The 2017 Capital Pride Parade today was as if the blight of Trump had not settled upon the land.  It’s always a fun event, but today’s felt like we caught a glimpse of what life will be when this pestilential administration has gone back where it came from.  What a delight it is to live in a city with such a large and dynamic LGBTQ community, and their thousands of friends, gay and straight, who come out each year to show their true colors.

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D.C.’s Funk Parade Is A Reason To Reclaim Our Optimism

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 7, 2017 by johnbuckley100

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All images Leica Monochrom Typ-246 and 50mm APO-Summicron-Asph

Just a year ago, we believed that the annual Funk Parade along U Street was a reason to live in the Nation’s Capital.  What a simple, innocent world we lived in then, when those of us in urban areas were clueless about the post-election pall about to fall upon the land.  But if you want to reclaim your sense of what life could be like if people of good will were to come together in a spirit of joy, yesterday’s Funk Parade — despite the rain and gloomy weather — could do it.  Once again on Chocolate City’s “Black Broadway” families came together to share in the funk, and it was wonderful.

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The #TaxDay Protests In DC: A Gallery

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 15, 2017 by johnbuckley100

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All images Leica M10 and 35mm Summilux.

The April 15th Tax March in Washington should scare Republicans even more than their narrow victory this week in the Kansas special election.  Oh sure, the crowds were smaller than the Womens’ March on January 21st.  But they were still large, and beyond their size was the enthusiasm, the anger, the joy in being able to protest against Trump.

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Republicans used to own Tax Day, and now, so long as Trump doesn’t release his taxes, April 15th is symbolic of how taxpayers are screwed, not by high taxes, but by people like Trump.  It’s a stunning reversal, as important in its way as the appropriation of patriotism as the American flag was by Democrats at last summer’s Democratic National Convention.

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The signs continue to show creativity, the demographics continue to span age and racial groups.  And as the Trump team continues to make missteps — announcing they won’t release White House visitor logs one day before a national series of marches and protests against Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns — the promise of the 2018 elections continues undiminished.  Herewith some images from the event today in the Nation’s Capital.

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The Tulip Frenzy, 2017 Edition

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 11, 2017 by johnbuckley100

Washington had an unfortunate month of March, and we’re not just talking about the Trump Administration.  First it was warm, and then it was cold.  By April it was warm again, but the damage was done, first to the cherry blossoms, then to the tulips.  We didn’t take pictures of tulips the week of March 31 because they weren’t ready, and by the 7th, they were overripe.  But in a secret spot where our beloved tulips congregate, Tulip Frenzy found these.  All images taken with a Leica SL and the 50mm Summilux SL, with an ND filter.

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What His Administration Must Look Like To “The Closer”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 26, 2017 by johnbuckley100

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Leica SL, Vario-Elmarit SL 24-90, Kamokuna Lava Flow, Big Island

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