Monday, 21 August 2017

Solar Eclipse 2015

Solar Eclipse from 20 March 2015, England
Today, in 2017, there was a full solar eclipse which went all the way across a section of the United States. Here in England, there was only a chance to see a sliver of the eclipse. But as it was cloudy here where I am in Stroud Gloucestershire, there was little to no chance of seeing it.

One of my nieces from the States, Amber, contacted me and asked if I could photograph today's eclipse from England for her. As I couldn't I thought I'd show her the images I took from 2015's eclipse. Sadly I didn't blog about it here, but on my website, and not long ago my website was corrupted and I lost that page, along with quite a few others. So I'm going to blog about it again, for my niece. And anyone else who's interested.

20 March 2015 (Copied from my notes)

It started out very cloudy! (400mm)

Today we had a partial solar eclipse in Southwestern part of England. It was quite foggy and cloudy when I got up this morning and still so when I went out to attempt to capture it in pictures. So I got in my car and I drove up Rodborough hill looking for clear skies. I didn’t find them so I kept going to Minchinhampton Common. It was quite cloudy at first but soon it cleared up.

This one is over exposed, but cut through the clouds. (2000mm)
I used two cameras, Canon 5D m2 & Canon 5D m3. Well I used a compact and my phone as well but I didn’t like those photos. 🙂 Lenses used were a 1000mm mirror lens with a 2x converter, giving a focal length of 2000mm. Most of the sun photos are from this lens and have not been zoomed and cropped. I also used a 400mm Canon lens for the sun, but I didn’t really care for those photos either, but there are a couple in the gallery below, the smaller photos of the sun. For general photos I used a Canon 70-200mm zoom and a Canon 16-35mm zoom.

Better exposure, but still quite cloudy. (2000mm)
In some of my images the sun appears white, those are over exposed and have lost detail of the sun. In most of the images the sun appears yellow, this is for two reasons, first it’s not so over exposed and I was using filters, mainly a green welding glass. The other filters which are actually for black and white photography I believe seemed to have neutralized the green of the welding glass. There was a slight greenish tent to it which I removed and was left with this. That’s the only alterations I did to the images.

Oops, over exposed, but shows the progression of the moon across the sun's path. (2000mm)

The moon fully in front of the sun, a partial eclipse. (400mm)

The moon continuing it's journey across the path of the sun. (2000mm)


You can just see a sunspot in this one! (2000mm)
I know it's a sun spot because it's in several of the photos in the same place on the sun. :-)

Nearly finished! You can see the sunspot in this one too. (2000mm)
Here are all the images again, together, so that you can see the progress of the moon across the sun. 
Me watching the solar eclipse with a special mask I made myself. AKA beer goggles. 
I bought some welding glass and made my own solar viewing mask. It worked amazingly!! I was so busy watching it and talking to others that I wasn't fully concentrating on getting the photos. This was my first solar eclipse after all! :-D

Welding mask & my home made mask.
Someone actually brought and used an actual welding mask. They tried my mask as well, photo above, and said they preferred my mask as the glass was cleaner and clearer. Several people came over to borrow my special made mask.

Some people had special solar glasses.
Here they are using a telescope to project the image of the sun onto a piece of paper to watch the solar eclipse.
I took this photo at the height of the solar eclipse, it didn't get as dark as I thought it would.
I really enjoyed attempting to photograph the eclipse and I really enjoyed chatting with the others who came to enjoy the eclipse as well.

Back to 2017...

I've been enjoying looking at everyone's photos from the States of the Solar Eclipse today. Wishing I could have been there to try and photograph it again. Thanks for all those who shared their experiences and photos today!! 

A walk along Stroud Water, Frome

Today we went for a walk along the Stroud Water, Frome River near our house. We walked down from Rodborough to Capel Mill and the river. We walked from there along the river to Cheapside in Stroud. From there we walked back up hill to Rodborough.
Snapper absolutely loves walking along the river. I worry one day he will fall or jump in. We've no idea if he can swim and we worry that even if he can that he will be swept away in the swift current of the river, which is quite deep in places.
What Snapper likes most is chasing the leaves floating down the river. He often runs into the water to snap at the leaves.
He didn't get more than his front feet wet on this occasion, but there have been times when he waded in and got quite wet. He's not afraid at all! Hence why I'm worried he will go in where it's deep with a swift current. Lucky he's pretty good at coming back when we call.
I think he was captivated by the swift moving water and the swirls of water in the river in the photo above.

Someone has been working on the footpath along the river, it's looking quite smart at the moment.

There's also a new play and explore area with picnic table and carved eels.

We had a lovely walk indeed! And it's just down from our house. We are very blessed with beauty and adventures where we live. Looking forward to many more walks along this bit of river. I'm sure Snapper is too!

All photos taken by me with my Huawei P9 mobile phone. :-)

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Travellers trash Selsley Common

Travellers have parked up on Selsly Common in Stroud, Gloucestershire. They've been there a few days now, we saw them yesterday. (Saturday, 3rd June) When we first arrived we saw the huge collection of caravans parked in the centre of the common and my first thought was the damage they were doing to the grass and wildlife. Then a car drove onto the common in front of us and threw some fast food trash out the window. I quickly took the above and below photos just after.
The car stopped at the make shift camp sight and some children got out of the car and shouted obscenities at us. The oldest couldn't have been much more than 9 years old. I was shocked to say the least. We decided to try and avoid the camp sight as much as possible .
We love walking our little dog Snapper up on Selsley Common, as do many dog walkers and walkers in general. It's a lovely and beautiful common with amazing views. It's also a delicate eco system with nesting Skylarks in the long grass. Cattle also spend some time up there occasionally.

We talked to several people who were also up there to enjoy the common who were appalled at what was happening up there. We heard tells of a trash heap that the travellers had left and was blowing around. We didn't see this trash pile, but we weren't looking for it either. We saw plenty of trash blowing about in the grass which was awful to see. We saw some bits we were afraid to take a closer look at. Truly disgusting.
One lady told us of a car that was driving all over the common without a care of the nesting birds in the grass and she bravely stood in front of the car to stop it. She said a young lady was driving and when she told her of the nesting birds she was driving over she seemed to apologise and went back to the group camp.
These photos of the blue van driving around up on the common are photos I took on Saturday, not of the car the lady saw and stopped. So they are still driving around up there, without a care to the local wildlife or damage to the eco system. And if you look in the grass in the photos you can see trash scattered about.
Also they were driving around quite fast, without caring about people or dogs walking around.

We talked to many people who were up there when were were on Saturday and they all talked about the trash and damage they were doing to the land and how rude they were. One of their biggest concerns was human waste left on the common. This could cause the common to be cordoned off and closed to the public because of human waste contamination.
When we got home I posted about it on social media and heard from a few more people about it. People have reported them to the police and they know about them. I read that the police had talked to them and told them they had to be gone by 10am this morning (Sunday). And that they, the travellers, agreed to this. Link to local newspaper article:
In photo above, someone I know looked up the licence plate number of the van, and found that it has been untaxed since 31st of March.

I can tell you that I've heard several reports from eye witnesses this morning that they were still there after 10am and showed no signs of leaving anytime soon. It's now noon, the current time at time of this writing.

Another local news article:
I innocently thought they'd be gone by 10am and suggested going for a walk up there, and taking some garbage bags with us. I was quickly told by several people that they won't likely be gone and it's not a good idea to be around them. So we didn't go up there for a walk this morning. Since we found out they didn't leave I'm glad we didn't go. They scare me. I didn't like obscenities been thrown at me by their young children, so I sure didn't want to meet any of their adults.
When I've heard they've gone, I still may go for a walk up there with a garbage bag. I hate thinking about the birds nesting in all that trash and I hate thinking about it blowing around. And the sooner it's picked up the sooner we can enjoy our walks up there again.

These people have a bad reputation, and I now see why. I have always tried to give them the benefit of doubt when other's talk badly about them. And I won't paint all travellers with the same broad brush, but this particular group have definitely earned their bad reputation. Shame on them.

UPDATE 1: The people camped out on Selsley common did eventually move on Sunday afternoon. I do not know what happened as I was not there.

UPDATE 2: They left a huge mess: Local paper:

UPDATE 3: Another local paper:

NOTE: I may update this post if I learn anything new. I'll add updates to the bottom.