Chasing The Shadow – Eclipse 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017 Diamond Ring | Whims And Fancies

 

Diamond Ring – heralding Totality

 

Today I want to share something with you that is extremely special to me – our eclipse journey which I started planning two years ago.  It was two years ago that I called the hotel in the tiny little town of John Day, Oregon to reserve a room for the two of us for last weekend.  John Day lay in the path of totality, so we wouldn’t have to drive any further once we got there to see the total solar eclipse.

 

 

Solar Eclipse 2017 Baily's Beads | Whims And Fancies

 

Baily’s Beads – Sunlight rushing in between moon’s craters

 

This was our first total solar eclipse.  I have photographed a couple of partial ones before, but those were nothing compared to the sun being completely obscured by the moon.  I knew I had to capture this event with my camera and telescope. 

So, on Friday afternoon we started our 592-mile / 10-hour journey northbound to chase the moon’s shadow for the first time in our lives.  We both love to drive, and the scenery was fabulous.  At any other time, I would have stopped and taken a LOT of photos along the way, but my mind was focused on one and only one thing this time.

 

Solar Eclipse 2017 Baily's Beads With Prominence | Whims And Fancies

 

Close up of Baily’s Beads – bright sunlight filtering through the rough edges of the craters on the moon

Solar Prominences – Activity on the solar surface shown in red

 

I knew going in that I would be able to either view and enjoy the eclipse or take photos.  I chose photos.  Totality would last only 2 minutes at our location and I had to finish taking a series of photos within that time.  Immediately after, the solar filter would need to be placed back in front of the telescope before the sun would emerge again, so my eyes and my optics would not be left permanently damaged.

 

Solar Eclipse 2017 Earthshine | Whims And Fancies

 

Couldn’t pass up a chance of capturing the lunar surface covering the sun

 

We spent Sunday at the hotel.  We were lucky enough to be able to park our car right in front of our room.  The car powered my telescope’s motorized mount so it could continue to track the sun once I had everything set up and aligned correctly.  We spent the morning making sure the setup worked from that location.  The afternoon was spent rehearsing the set of exposures I would be taking.

 

Solar Eclipse 2017 Totality | Whims And Fancies

 

Totality

 

One last rehearsal Monday morning and I was set.  I started watching and recording the partial eclipse from the very beginning.  As the moon proceeded to cover the majority of the sun, the light started dimming quite significantly and the temperature dropped noticeably as well.  I felt a chill in the air and we experienced late twilight in the middle of an otherwise very sunny morning.  

Right then, the alarm went off on the phone to tell us to remove the solar filter and start clicking.  The race against time had begun!  It felt like the two minutes were over even before the countdown started.  I didn’t get a chance to look up at the sky, but I also knew I would be very sad if I didn’t take the photos.

 

Art Supply Zipper Bag | Whims And Fancies

 

Needless to say, I didn’t get to paint or sew much.  Before the trip, I did manage to make a small bag using the yellow newspaper fabric that my dear friend Kris sent me.  I made it to carry my tiny little paint palette and my sketchbook.  Remember the round pencil cases I made in this Sketchbook 2017 post?  Now I have a matching art supply bag.  I took them with me, but unfortunately they stayed in my backpack.  I know one of the August sketchbook entries will be of the eclipse.

 

Solar Eclipse 2017 | Whims And Fancies

 

Total Solar Eclipse – Beginning To End

 

My husband helped me rehearse the photography sequence more than a dozen times, and talked to curious strangers while I was setting up my telescope so I could keep my concentration.  Most importantly, he sacrificed his viewing experience to remove and replace the solar filter on time, to call the photo settings out loud and to shine a red light on the camera so I could shoot uninterrupted. 

This was my first try at taking photos of totality and I really could not have done this without him.  I wish we had a few more seconds so he could have enjoyed it a bit longer. I owe him another eclipse journey.

 

I anticipated this for so long, now I am a bit sad that it’s over.  As happy as I am with the photos, I also wish that I spent time experiencing the totality with my own eyes.  Shakespeare said it best –  “For man is a giddy thing and this is my conclusion“.

Thank You for listening!
-Soma

 

I am also linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.   They are fun to visit and great source for new inspirations.

 

A Day By The Ocean

Summer Sailboat Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

I took a break last week to catch my breath a little, and it was quite nice to be able to do that.  During that time I worked on a few hand sewing finishes.  The Summer Sailboat was amongst them.  I wanted to add to the paper pieced block with hand quilting.  Large fluffy clouds are always a favourite of mine and my husband.  I started there and added on as I went along with the quilting.

 

A couple of months ago, we went to the Point Reyes National Seashore.  We don’t live by the ocean, but it is a very nice day trip for us.  Sadly, we only go once every few years.  We had never been to Point Reyes before, and I needed to learn my new camera that I got earlier this year.  So we decided to drive out and make a day of it.  After having a delicious seafood lunch at one of the many small seaside towns en route, we arrived at Point Reyes.

 

Point Reyes, California | Whims And Fancies

 

It was a cool, windy day.  Although a bit hazy, you could still see the bay in the distance.

 

Point Reyes, California | Whims And Fancies

 

The colour of the water makes me think of glass.  I could have stood there forever, watching the water crashing into those rocks creating frothy white foam.   Different every time!

 

Point Reyes, California | Whims And Fancies

 

The call of the ocean.  I always feel a strong pull whenever I see the vast expanse of the sea, wondering what’s on the other side.

 

Point Reyes, California | Whims And Fancies

 

The ever-present stiff gale has bent all the trees, creating a canopy.

 

Point Reyes, California | Whims And Fancies

 

There are wonderful sitting grooves on the thick branches of this lovely tree.  Sitting in one of those was like being hugged by a tree.

 

Point Reyes, California | Whims And Fancies

 

The marine mist rolled in at the end of the day.  The contrasting white of the breaking waves against the blue-grey is beautiful.

 

Point Reyes, California | Whims And Fancies

 

I love the pale and soft pastel purple, peach and cream colours of sunsets even more than the bright ones, they feel very serene and peaceful to me.  It was time to head home.

 

This was the first outside trip for my new camera and it was a wonderful one at that.  I hope to create many more memories with it.

 

 

I set out to quilt the little wall hanging with that ocean blue colour in mind.

 

Summer Sailboat Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Summer Sailboat on Craftsy and Etsy

 

The finished Summer Sailboat quilted wall hanging.  There was another quilted square on the border, but it looked crowded, so I removed it in the end.  This one is my very first all hand-quilted finish.  I could have been done with it a bit sooner if I didn’t always get hung up on the stitch sizes being almost same all the time, but I am glad I took the time to work on it. 

 

The Summer Sailboat quilt pattern is on my Craftsy and Etsy shops should you wish to make one.  I hope you enjoyed the photos and my little finish.  I will tell you a bit more about this one and a couple of companion quilted wall hangings another day.

-Soma

 

I am also linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.   They are fun to visit and great source for new inspirations.

 

Yorkshire Skies

Yorkshire Skies | Whims And Fancies

 

There really is no doubting that the Yorkshire countryside is a beautiful place.   The hills, valleys, limestone cliffs, heather and waterfalls make for a very tranquil setting.  For me, being in the north and the remoteness of the places adds another sense of enigma to Yorkshire.  Last year, during our roadtrip through England, we spent a few days in Yorkshire, visiting the countryside that I dreamt of so often.

Many months ago I got a beautiful skein of yarn very aptly named Yorkshire Skies.  I just had to make a pair of mitts with it before we visited Yorkshire.

 

Hermione hat and mittens with Yorkshire Skies Yarn | Whims And Fancies

 

I was looking for a pattern that would show off the yarn, and came across Hermione’s Fingerless Gloves on Ravelry.   I managed to finish knitting the mittens the night before our flight.  I was so determined to wear them in Yorkshire that I finished weaving in the stray yarn during the one-hour travel time to the airport. 

Once we were back, I noticed I had enough yarn left to make a matching hat.  The hat pattern was written for worsted weight yarn.  Since I was using smaller size knitting needles for my fingering weight yarn, I added two extra cables to my hat.  That resulted in just 1 extra stitch at the end after the decreasing was done.  It was a tad big for my head, but one run through the dryer in low heat setting made it just the perfect size for me.

 

Malham Cove Yorkshire | Whims And Fancies

 

View from Malham Cove in late summer

 

Malham Cove Yorkshire | Whims And Fancies

 

Malham Cove in late winter

 

As we peregrinated the streets and countryside of Yorkshire, I was smiling happily while wearing my mittens.  My husband and I fell in love with Yorkshire so much that I planned our next England roadtrip earlier this year fully around Yorkshire with a few added days in Derbyshire.  I took both of these photos from Malham Cove, one of my favourite hikes.

 

Whitby Sea with Winsor Newton Waterbased Oil | Whims And Fancies

 

Sunset At Whitby

Of course, very soon after our return I had to paint a picture of the beautiful skies we saw in Yorkshire.  This was my first time playing with oil, and I could not have picked a better subject to paint.

 

Sailboat Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

The painting, in turn, had me look back at a pattern I had designed a long time ago.  Sewing this block is going to be my One Monthly Goal for this month.  I know I will be thinking of the beautiful skies.

 

Yorkshire Moors Heather with acrylic | Whims And Fancies

 

I am also very sure that Yorkshire will continue to surface now and then in my paintings.  Currently I am working on this acrylic painting of heather in the Yorkshire Moors while listening to stories.

 

My Orange Maine Coon Kitty | Whims And Fancies

 

My kitty sleeps and purrs beside me, hopefully dreaming of a happy place.  I love a peaceful life.  Whenever I can get it, I enjoy it to the fullest!

 

See you next time,
-Soma

 

I am also linking up on Through My Lens, Our World TuesdayWednesday Around The World, Seasons, and Friday Photo Journal along with other linky parties on my Events And Links page.

 

Happenstance

 

 

One of the recent weekends was full of wonderful moments of happenstance.  The weekend started with visiting an exhibition called Monet: The Early Years at one of the museums in San Francisco.   Earlier in the month, I had mentioned it to my husband.  Knowing how much I adore the Impressionist painters, he got us tickets for the event.  A couple of weeks ago we were there on Saturday morning, bright and early, although not quite bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

 

Monet

Towing of a Boat at Honfleur by Claude Monet

 

 

A Cart on the Snowy Road at Honfleur by Claude Monet

 

 

Green Wave by Claude Monet

 

 

A Hut at Sainte-Adresse by Claude Monet

 

We explored his early work through approximately sixty paintings.  Exquisite play of colours, light and shadow, brush strokes and dynamics are an integral part of every painting.  Although he lived in abject poverty, Monet was so passionate about this work that he continued on with his personal style of painting.

 

 

 

 

Water Lilies by Claude Monet

 

The museum also has two small paintings by Van Gogh.  As I walked into the Gallery that had the Van Gogh pieces on display,  there was this painting by Monet right across from where I was standing.  As we walked around the room, we found a few more paintings by Monet and Renoir.  A lovely surprise find before leaving the museum.

 

 

Pattern on Craftsy and Etsy

 

My violin bow had been at the luthier to be rehaired.  They are about an hour away from our house, and also an hour away from San Francisco.  The bow was ready so we decided to stop by to pick it up on our way back.  We found a small coffee shop where we recharged before heading home via a beautiful road.  Inspired by the all the artwork of the morning and atmosphere of the violin shop, I have a new musical pattern brewing.

 

White Rose | Whims And Fancies

 

On the way back, the conversation digressed toward the gardens of Versailles.   We haven’t been to France yet, but we have seen a couple of beautiful stately home gardens in England.  It was therefore not hard to imagine the scale and beauty of the gardens of Versailles.  Our home is not a very large one, but I do like to take inspiration from large enterprises and scale them down to suit my need.  The thought of doing the same with our garden stayed with me.

Next day, when my husband went to the shop, I went along to browse the plants area.  I wasn’t planning on buying anything, but then I spotted this white rose.  All resolve melted away and I came home with 29 plants!

 

 

 

Can’t say no to irises.  I got these and my friend Mary sent me some more.  I am a lucky girl.

 

 

Also, a few foxgloves.

 

 

The following Friday, after work, I sat down with the garden measurements to create a layout for the plants.   Influenced by the larger gardens of the stately homes, I am designing a garden with a few different focal points.  Our garden may not be huge, but it is certainly big enough for that.  I created a circular focal point with the white rose in the centre.  It is a working plan, so it will continue to grow as I get inspired by the greatness of others.

I am going to take a break for the next couple of weeks.  Hopefully a few more moments of happenstance will find me.

-Soma

 

I am also linking up on Through My Lens, Our World TuesdayWednesday Around The World, Seasons, and Friday Photo Journal along with other linky parties on my Events And Links page.