Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Eclipse eclipsed

with 50 comments

My tentative plans to see the full solar eclipse today were eclipsed by the exorbitant prices hotels were charging for rooms in and near the band of totality. Last night my friend H.J. told me that a colander would act as a multiple pinhole camera and cast little images of crescent suns rather than circular ones on the ground during Austin’s limited eclipse. Colander in hand, I walked into Great Hills Park a little before the 1:10 time of our maximum partial eclipse so I could do some experiments. Sure enough, at 12:58 I got the crescent suns you see here.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 21, 2017 at 3:53 PM

50 Responses

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  1. Fabulous! Vivian

    Goldman-Leffler, V P

    August 21, 2017 at 3:56 PM

    • Thanks, Vivian. Happy eclipse to us all.

      Now that the colander’s out, maybe tonight’s a good time for some pasta.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 21, 2017 at 4:03 PM

  2. very nice! i like it a lot!

    lostfunzone (dothob)

    August 21, 2017 at 4:02 PM

  3. Perfect! Though I have to express my dislike of the naming of this eclipse as “The Great American Eclipse” as if it never happens anywhere else in the world.


    August 21, 2017 at 4:22 PM

    • Yeah, there’s some hype in the naming. This was the first solar eclipse in almost a century visible across the United States from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. I hope you don’t have to wait too long for a Great Great Britain Eclipse.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 21, 2017 at 4:33 PM

      • There was a total eclipse over Britain on 11 August 1999, funnily enough the best place to see it was Cornwall! Of course at that time I was living up north, but do remember being at work in Sheffield. The light went very strange and all the birds stopped singing so it was deathly quiet. Wish I’d known about the colander trick!


        August 21, 2017 at 5:59 PM

  4. Fabulous!


    August 21, 2017 at 4:28 PM

  5. well done!


    August 21, 2017 at 6:58 PM

  6. This is my favorite image of today!!

    Suzanne Savoy

    August 21, 2017 at 9:08 PM

  7. We were in the path of totality here in my part of Oregon, and went to see an eclipse concert this morning. They also gave out glasses for viewing. It was a beautiful sight, and the experience of darkness mid morning and seeing stars was something else!

    Lavinia Ross

    August 21, 2017 at 10:10 PM

    • How fortunate that you were in the path of totality: a once-in-a-lifetime experience, complete with an eclipse concert. Do you think any new songs will come out of the experience of having seen a total solar eclipse?

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 21, 2017 at 11:55 PM

  8. This photo made me smile; an unusual take on the eclipse. I like it.


    August 22, 2017 at 5:47 AM

  9. That is wonderful! Hope some students also experimented in a similar way!


    August 22, 2017 at 6:58 AM

  10. Very cool, Steve! I posted a totality shot. Amazing, wasn’t it!!!


    August 22, 2017 at 8:50 AM

    • You’re totally fortunate to have seen the solar eclipse the way you did. Here in Austin we were partial to the share we got.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 22, 2017 at 1:05 PM

  11. oh that’s fun.


    August 22, 2017 at 8:53 AM

  12. Now THAT is some picture, Steve! Amazing!
    I didn’t get any good pictures of the eclipse. Well, I had not expected it, without the proper equipment. But it was an awe-inspiring moment here in Casper/Wyoming. We’re glad we drove all the way up.
    You’re right: some places charge exorbitant prices. Ours was not exactly “exorbitant”, but not cheap either. Some people, though, did not want to make money off the eclipse. We met a pair of brothers who had gotten a complete house FOR FREE. The owner moved out to her sister’s!
    Take care,


    August 22, 2017 at 9:37 AM

    • And I’m glad you made it all the way up there to see the eclipse in its totality. Now that you’re up in Wyoming, are you planning to go the relatively short distance to Devil’s Tower and the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota?

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 22, 2017 at 1:17 PM

      • Our plans are some bike rides, mostly on rail trails. We”l go up to Billings/MT, then Grand Forks/ND, and Sioux Falls/SD. I don’t know yet what we might “catch” on the way, but very likely not the Black Hills nor the Badlands. For those we’d need more time than we have. Which means: we must return some day. Today, btw, we had a great ride along the North Platte River here in Casper. They have wonderful bike paths.


        August 22, 2017 at 5:27 PM

        • We crossed or drove alongside the North Platte River in several places in western Nebraska. That river is 700 miles long.

          Depending on how you go to Grand Forks, you might pass through Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I’d never heard of it till our recent trip. I see that it has some appealing geological formations:


          I understand there’s only so much you can do in a limited time.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 22, 2017 at 5:39 PM

          • Thanks, Steve, for the advice about the Theodore Roosevelt Park. Unfortunately we only had time to stop at a scenic overlook for some very spectacular sights. We were rather limited in our time as we wanted/needed to be back here on August 29. We sure need to go up there again, not only for that park.
            Have a great weekend,


            September 1, 2017 at 10:26 AM

            • Greetings from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, which has its own Badlands. I understand about having too little time to visit all the places we’d like to see. There’a always another trip to be taken.

              Steve Schwartzman

              September 1, 2017 at 2:29 PM

  13. What a great idea!


    August 22, 2017 at 3:46 PM

  14. I’d never heard of the colander trick until this year, but it is a good one. If that’s you holding the colander and taking the photo, it’s another reminder of how steady your hand is.

    Just think — in 2024, it will be our chance to experience totality, and it looks like the center will be right across Kerrville. If my friend and I both are still alive, I won’t need to fight the crowds.


    August 24, 2017 at 6:40 AM

    • Yes, I played the dual roles of holder and photographer. It’s the same approach I’ve become accustomed to take with wildflowers. At this stage of life, seven years can bring many changes. Let’s hope 2024 finds us still willing and capable.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 24, 2017 at 6:52 AM

  15. […] I hadn’t seen any cardinal flowers (Lobelia cardinalis) for several years when I discovered one plant flowering right at the edge of Bull Creek on August 14th. (I found one more when I went to Great Hills Park on August 21 to photograph my colanderized eclipse.) […]

  16. That colander view is the first I’ve seen. Very clever!

    I made a solo journey to my home state of Nebraska, where most of my family gathered at a country cemetery, and viewed the eclipse for 2 minutes and 29 seconds. It was simply amazing and emotion provoking. To boot, we shared our spot with some people from Minnesota, and can you believe the dad in the group is an astronomer, and had this fabulous binocular setup with filters, and they invited us to share their enhanced view. I still get goosebumps remembering!


    September 4, 2017 at 9:18 PM

    • How fortunate you were to get to see the eclipse with your family. What a bonus the astronomer’s setup was for you. Why did all of you choose to watch from a cemetery? Was it the absence of trees, perhaps?

      When we checked into out hotel in Scottsbluff a few months ago on the way from Texas to South Dakota, the woman at the reception counter asked if we were going to see the eclipse. It struck me as a strange question. Did she expect us to stay in the hotel every night for several months just waiting?

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 6, 2017 at 8:46 AM

      • Our intent was to get away from any town lights (the village my mo lives in is a population of about 200) and the cemetery was just a mile out. I felt it would be a quiet place away from traffic (which there was a LOT of all around). We were nestled in the tiny cemetery (where my mother’s Danish relatives are buried) surrounded by corn fields. It was perfect really.

        Probably not many tourists spend time in western Nebraska. I’m sure the woman behind the counter was just making conversation, not thinking about how strange it sounded. 😀


        September 7, 2017 at 7:20 AM

        • Your explanation for choosing the cemetery makes sense.

          Until a few months ago I’d never been to any part of Nebraska. I think the western part was a good choice. Other people apparently felt the same way, because at Chimney Rock and especially Scottsbluff we encountered plenty of visitors.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 7, 2017 at 11:23 PM

  17. […] The last post showed you some signs of incipient autumn in the Canadian Rockies. Even before flying up there on August 24th, I was seeing evidence in Austin of what I call botanical autumn. One herald was this flowering snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia marginata) that I photographed in Great Hills Park on August 21st after I’d colanderized the eclipse. […]

  18. Fun!


    October 3, 2017 at 2:16 AM

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