Eclipse

We scouted for two days and selected the Battlefield in Lexington to be the spot where we hoped to photograph the 2017 solar eclipse events.  Happy to share.

We arrived very early and were fortunate to be the first ones on the site.

We arrived very early and were fortunate to be the first ones on the site.

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With hours of waiting ahead of us, we looked for other interesting things to photograph.  There were quite a few of these very small mushrooms.

With hours of waiting ahead of us, we looked for other interesting things to photograph.  There were quite a few of these very small mushrooms.

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At this point the sun was shining and in spite of very good evidence that a apretty good storm was headed our way, people continued to arrive and set up chairs, tents, and food.

At this point the sun was shining and in spite of very good evidence that a apretty good storm was headed our way, people continued to arrive and set up chairs, tents, and food.

A group of astronomers arrived early and set up right on top of the small hill.  They cordoned off some lanes and it was their hope that people would come up and see the sun through their telescopes.  I would certainly have been one of them.  Alas, the weather really deteriorated, the rain move in and they moved on to Higginsville in search of a better place.

A group of astronomers arrived early and set up right on top of the small hill.  They cordoned off some lanes and it was their hope that people would come up and see the sun through their telescopes.  I would certainly have been one of them.  Alas, the weather really deteriorated, the rain move in and they moved on to Higginsville in search of a better place.

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About an hour and a half before the eclipse was to start the storm moved in.  Many people retreated to their cars (we did).

About an hour and a half before the eclipse was to start the storm moved in.  Many people retreated to their cars (we did).

But, as you know, there are die-hards in every crowd!  These folks toughed it out.  I returned just as the rain let up document their commitment.  We could see a bit of blue to the west and were ever so hopeful that we would have sun breaking through the clouds in time.

But, as you know, there are die-hards in every crowd!  These folks toughed it out.  I returned just as the rain let up document their commitment.  We could see a bit of blue to the west and were ever so hopeful that we would have sun breaking through the clouds in time.

People started returning as soon as the rain let up.  It was still very overcast.

People started returning as soon as the rain let up.  It was still very overcast.

Finally, the sun came out and the eclipse starts.  This was a common scene.

Finally, the sun came out and the eclipse starts.  This was a common scene.

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Minutes before totality it got much cooler and the whole place became darker.  But, unlike a sunset which has a side reference point of light from light to dark, this darkening was much much faster and it was evenly distributed.

Minutes before totality it got much cooler and the whole place became darker.  But, unlike a sunset which has a side reference point of light from light to dark, this darkening was much much faster and it was evenly distributed.

Just before totality.

Just before totality.

Taken a minute later than the image above, this photograph shows the eerie colors that show up on the horizon.  But, unlike a sunset, these colors surround you on the horizon.  Then, they too disappeared into greater darkness.

Taken a minute later than the image above, this photograph shows the eerie colors that show up on the horizon.  But, unlike a sunset, these colors surround you on the horizon.  Then, they too disappeared into greater darkness.

Taken with a Nikon D810, at 260mm with a Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 with a 1.4 teleconverter.  Develop adjustments in Lightroom: highlight slider -25, white +15, black -4, clarity 10, no saturation or vibrancy, red luminance -24 and magenta -27.  Note: the highlight slider very much affects the size of the white corona surrounding the moon.  I picked a value that looked realistic based on what I was seeing through my glasses.

Taken with a Nikon D810, at 260mm with a Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 with a 1.4 teleconverter.  Develop adjustments in Lightroom: highlight slider -25, white +15, black -4, clarity 10, no saturation or vibrancy, red luminance -24 and magenta -27.  Note: the highlight slider very much affects the size of the white corona surrounding the moon.  I picked a value that looked realistic based on what I was seeing through my glasses.

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After totality ended, people started leaving.  But many stayed behind to watch the second half of the show.

After totality ended, people started leaving.  But many stayed behind to watch the second half of the show.

New Market Battlefield Museum

Right off it is important to point out that these photographs were NOT taken at the Virginia Museum of the Civil War which is just down the road from this museum.  Rather, this is a privately owned museum, culmination of decades of collecting historical American artifacts that are displayed for viewing for a small price.  Photography is allowed and, if the museum is not crowded, you can use a tripod.

It was raining lightly as we arrived with a dark gray sky.

It was raining lightly as we arrived with a dark gray sky.

Really not a duplicate of the image above.  Close, but . . .

Really not a duplicate of the image above.  Close, but . . .

Shown is the Waist Coat worn by John Floyd while Governor of Virginia, 1830-1834.  He was the father of John Buchanan Floyd who was the 31st Virginia Governor between 1849 and 1852.

Shown is the Waist Coat worn by John Floyd while Governor of Virginia, 1830-1834.  He was the father of John Buchanan Floyd who was the 31st Virginia Governor between 1849 and 1852.

Look at the description for Martha Washington's watch.  Pretty cool.

Look at the description for Martha Washington's watch.  Pretty cool.

This is a Dragoon Helmet worn by enlisted men of the United States Light Dragoons, Circa 1812.  The jacked black leather cap was reinforced by iron straps.  The white crest is made of horsehair.

This is a Dragoon Helmet worn by enlisted men of the United States Light Dragoons, Circa 1812.  The jacked black leather cap was reinforced by iron straps.  The white crest is made of horsehair.

This is the Revolutionary War Uniform Coat of John Dunwoody, born in 1737.  He was a teacher in Pennsylvania before joining the war.  He wore this uniform while serving with General Washington during the Delaware River crossing on December 25, 1776, during the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776 and in the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777 and other battles.  He married Susan Crestwell and was the father of 8 children.  One of his great-great-great grandaughters married Theodore Roosevelt.

This is the Revolutionary War Uniform Coat of John Dunwoody, born in 1737.  He was a teacher in Pennsylvania before joining the war.  He wore this uniform while serving with General Washington during the Delaware River crossing on December 25, 1776, during the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776 and in the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777 and other battles.  He married Susan Crestwell and was the father of 8 children.  One of his great-great-great grandaughters married Theodore Roosevelt.

This is a tricorn hat, a civilian hat pattern popular in the 1750s and 60s.  This style hat was still worn by many American Militiamen during the American Revolution.

This is a tricorn hat, a civilian hat pattern popular in the 1750s and 60s.  This style hat was still worn by many American Militiamen during the American Revolution.

"Appomattox" by John Elder, an 1880 oil painting signed and dated by the artist.  It is a compelling portrait of a Confederate soldier following the surrender of General Lee.  The soldier is portrayed with arms crossed and head slightly bowed, with downcast eyes - typifying the blend of defiance and sorrow felt after the surrender.

"Appomattox" by John Elder, an 1880 oil painting signed and dated by the artist.  It is a compelling portrait of a Confederate soldier following the surrender of General Lee.  The soldier is portrayed with arms crossed and head slightly bowed, with downcast eyes - typifying the blend of defiance and sorrow felt after the surrender.

We could have spent many more hours taking in the many exhibits.  I have a hundred plus more photographs that I am not posting!  If you are ever in the New Market area please do check this place out as well as the Virginia Museum of the Civil War.  If possible, check out for dates when re-enactments of the New Market Battle will take place.  It was one of the first battles of the 1864 Valley Campaign when Grant ordered that the Shenandoah Valley be cleared and it crops burned!  It is reputed to be excellent.  Finally, there is a great emotional impact of the history lesson when surrounded by photographs of people, ordinary soldiers, and the items used during an important period of our national history.  It is sobering

Natural Bridge

The Natural Bridge is one of the oldest geologic features on the East Coast.  Its limestone base is composed of compressed remains of of organisms that lived in the oceans nearly 500 million years ago.  The bridge was part of an underground cave system when the James River was formed nearly 200 million years ago.  As the water of the river changed course over time, the cave collapsed, leaving only the thickest part of the ceiling.  The first survey of the area was done by Peter Jefferson in 1750.  It is 215 feet tall, 40-50 feet thick, has a 100 foot span and is 90 feet wide.  Thomas Jefferson heard stories abut the bridge from his uncle, Peter, and visited the area in his 20s.  He purchased the 157 acres that included the Bridge from King George III on July 5th, 1774 for 20 schillings.  Over the years the property has numerous owners.  It became a Virginia State Park in 2016.

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According to legend, a youthful George Washington (1750) was hired by Lord Fairfax to assist him in surveying the acreage surrounding Natural Bridge.  While there, story has it, George Washington scaled 23 feet up the wall and carved his initial in the stone.

According to legend, a youthful George Washington (1750) was hired by Lord Fairfax to assist him in surveying the acreage surrounding Natural Bridge.  While there, story has it, George Washington scaled 23 feet up the wall and carved his initial in the stone.

This is the entry into the Monacan Living History Exhibit.  It is a recreation of what a small community would have looked like in 1699.

This is the entry into the Monacan Living History Exhibit.  It is a recreation of what a small community would have looked like in 1699.

This is the inside of the 'long house' which was used as a gathering place for the leaders of different communities to come together.

This is the inside of the 'long house' which was used as a gathering place for the leaders of different communities to come together.

There were interpreters, Monacan I believe, who were there to answer questions and display their traditional items.

There were interpreters, Monacan I believe, who were there to answer questions and display their traditional items.

There was not a lot of water flowing down Cedar Creek.

There was not a lot of water flowing down Cedar Creek.

The Lace Waterfall is at the end of the trail.  It is almost a mile from the entrance.

The Lace Waterfall is at the end of the trail.  It is almost a mile from the entrance.