Category Archives: Life event

Solar Eclipse 2017

In my ongoing aim to photograph¬†astronomical phenomena, I recently went to the USA to capture the 2017 solar eclipse. As with the super blood moon, it’s been described as a “once in a lifetime” event, however I saw the 1999 eclipse (in Romania) and I might go to the 2024 one too (also in the USA), so it’s probably just a “three times in a lifetime” event (which is probably more common than a lot of things).

Having bought a special filter for my camera to protect it from the sun, I connected my camera to my computer and set it up to take a photo every minute.

The first few shots were slightly out of focus but do show the moon gradually moving across the sun (or does the sun move behind the moon?).

The main issue was with the sun moving across the camera field of view and disappearing off the edge. The answer was to redirect the camera but sometimes it took time to re-find the sun (the viewfinder couldn’t be used because the filter wasn’t suitable for human use, and the electronic display doesn’t work when connected to the computer). Therefore I missed a few of the shots, but I still got enough to produce this awesome timelapse:

[ADDITION: This is over about a 3 hour period and each ‘sun’ is about 3-5 minutes apart]

And here’s a simpler linear version:

I also captured several images of the corona (after taking the filter off):

Following some post-processing in Photoshop, I produced a more detailed shot of the corona:

And here’s a shot of the sun without the moon blocking it:

The Pizza Incident (aka Cheesegate)

Just over two weeks I was in a Surrey pub with some colleagues. It was a warm sunny afternoon so we were sat in the beer garden enjoying some drinks. I was getting hungry and the place had a special pizza oven so that seemed like the thing to go for. A few other people had already got one, so I ordered a pizza too.

As always, I ordered the spiciest pizza possible and waited for it to turn up. By the time it arrived, I was even hungrier and couldn’t wait to eat it. I grabbed a slice and took a bite…

Not only was it ridiculously spicy, but it was also almost 1000 degrees. In my shock and subsequent haste to put the slice down, I got some cheese down the front of my lip. It took me some time to notice since my mouth was literally on fire.

Anyway that bit of cheese burnt my lip and it later started to blister. A couple of days later, my lip was double its normal size and remained that way for a few days. It then started to scab over which made it look even worse.

Where I was going is this: during that time no-one asked me what had happened. Whether people assumed I had some horrible lip disease or had come across some terrible misadventure but were too afraid to ask, the actual reason was pizza related and probably less/more* exciting than you were hoping. Hopefully that clears it up…

*[delete as appropriate]

Super Blood Moon

So this morning, was the Super Blood Moon 2015 (technically called a Supermoon Lunar Eclipse).

It was described as a once in a generation event since the next one isn’t until 2033. I have no idea what this actually means since that’s only 18 years time and I intend to still be around then.

Anyway, I set my alarm for 3am in order to see the red moon at its peak (3:47am). I had intended to climb a nearby hill, however I decided I was much more comfortable at home, plus the moon was visible straight out of my bedroom window so I decided to just stay in.

It was quite strange to see a red moon, but I was expecting it to be a bit bigger. I’m sure it was bigger than normal, but I’m sure I’ve seen it larger before.

It took a while to work out the settings for my camera and I ended up taking 10 completely black images before I discovered that increasing the ISO allowed the moon to be recorded (even though I could see it in the viewfinder). The internet suggests that a focal length of 1000mm is best for moon photos, but my maximum lens only goes up to 250mm so the moon is still quite small in my photos. The alternative is to have a reference object to show the size (e.g. a landmark) but there aren’t many of them outside my bedroom window. I’m sure the settings I used weren’t ideal, and it probably would have been better if I was outdoors, but here are some of the photos I took:


[Note: for some reason one of the photos doesn’t appear to be loading. If it’s still not loading by tomorrow, I’ll have another look]

Catching Up

It’s now the 7th 19th 21st January, which means it’s the perfect time to blog about Christmas.

Because it’s been so long since Christmas, and because I have more exciting things I want to blog about I’m going to keep this short.

Highlights included seeing my youngest niece again (and of course my sister, brother-in-law, brother, mum and dad), doing a secret Santa present giving (rather than the usual one for each person) and just generally not being in work.


Unfortunately I didn’t have long at my parents house because the adventures continue elsewhere…

Number 9

This weekend I got to meet my latest niece. Annabel is just two months old and is my 9th nibling*.

* Nibling: A collective term for one’s nieces and nephews [Source: Urban Dictionary]

It’s always really fun to meet new babies and to see them growing up, so thanks sis.

Next up, I need to meet niblings 5 to 8 (and catch up with 1 to 4).

Fixed

It’s not very exciting, but after four months of having a leaking toilet, the plumber has finally fixed the leak. It’s been over 24 hours now, so hopefully it’s definitely sorted, unlike the last time he came…

And here’s a picture of my toilet to prove it (and because all good posts have pictures)
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