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not your ordinary sunday

Butter headquarters is coming to you this morning from The Land of Enchantment – New Mexico! Jeremy has a meeting here and since we are fans of the multi-tasking, I suggested we stop in Albuquerque on the drive down, to… you know, SHOOT THE ANNULAR SOLAR ECLIPSE?!

Albuquerque was along that narrow swath to get a perfect ring when the moon passed between our sun and our beloved planet. Jeremy, native son of New Mexico, suggested getting a high vantage from someplace like Sandia Crest, 5000 feet above Albuquerque. Several hundreds (thousand or more?) had the same idea… The forest service had the tremendous task of managing parking and emergency services while throngs of excited people flocked to the long north-south ridge crest. My National Parks Annual Pass got us in the door (they turned cars away that didn’t have a recreation pass – those folks parked further down the road).

to my south: my setup and fellow eclipse watchers

to my north – more eclipse watchers

For those wanting to know, here is what I shot with: my main system was the Nikon D3X with the Nikkor 500mm f4 lens (lens courtesy of Pro Photo Rental, they are the best!) and a sheet of Baader Astrosolar safety film courtesy of Doug Duncan, the Director of the Fiske Planetarium at the University of Colorado, Boulder. My second system was the Nikon D700 and a Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8. My third system was the iphone.

the sun, high in the sky

It took 30 minutes to scout out a proper location without obstructions and without getting in anyone’s way (remember, you want a clear path all the way to sunset). We finally settled among a group of the nicest people from New Mexico, Texas, and even two charming gentleman from as far away as the UK! There was a buzz of excitement in the air, even with over an hour to wait before anything actually happened. Jeremy and I had our handy solar eclipse glasses we purchased from our local hardware store (McGuckin – they’re awesome!). We purchased a dozen extras and proceeded to hand them out to anyone who needed a pair. [One New Mexico resident, Joseph Woods, was so appreciative he gave me his card and said I could select one of his artworks as a thank you – so sweet!] Before long, people were sharing food and filters and everyone was so damn nice! We should have eclipses more often.

the view over the rio grande rift valley

getting dimmer during the eclipse, but it was still incredibly bright out

Around 6:31pm (according to my camera time stamp), the moon began to take a small nibble out of the bottom right corner of the sun. We had about an hour to totality (when the moon is directly centered on the sun – in this case, the annular eclipse results in a ring). Mine was likely the most powerful magnification in my vicinity, and since eclipses are thankfully slow, I offered to let my neighbors look through the camera at the sun, sunspots, the shadow of the moon throughout the phases. SCIENCE!!! I photographed the disc of the sun with the big guns, but Jeremy reminded me of other fun things like eclipse shadows and pinhole projections.

pinhole projection on the only paper i had

cool eclipse shadows from the leaves projected on a rock (photo by jeremy)

the sun at totality – it’s still super bright

pinhole projection at totality

When the eclipse reached totality around 7:30pm, the entire ridge rose in a roar of hoots, hollers, joyful shouts, cheers, and clapping! Even the dogs (there were tons of doggies) began to howl when they heard everyone rejoicing. It was incredible and so special. Through the eclipse glasses, which give the sun an orange tint, it looked like The One Ring. So here are some shots of the sun through the solar filter:

moon takes a bite of the first sunspot

almost to the second sunspot

third sunspot is up next

almost closing the loop – you can see some topography of the moon in silhouette

totality (commence the howling!!)

breaking the ring

By this point, the sun was hanging low in the sky. It would set before the eclipse was over, but this was the part I was most excited for. A good fraction of the eclipse watchers began packing up and leaving – it was getting pretty chilly too. But the dedicated and the curious remained to see it finish out. The sun began to dim and turn its lovely warm colors. As it neared the horizon of sprawling New Mexico mesas, the sun started distorting and flattening (thank you, atmosphere).

turning orange

giving back the sunspots

getting oranger yet

flattening out

I finally felt it was safe enough to remove my filter to shoot the setting sun without damaging my camera sensor or my eye! Everyone clicked away or marveled at the sight before them – a partially eclipsed setting sun. Land of Enchantment, indeed.

you can see the sunspots (no filter)

still looks full, doesn’t it?

dropping behind the horizon

disappearing shark fin

sharkfin (wide)

Well, I hope you enjoyed those photographs. What an experience and what an amazing world we live in! Were you able to see all or any of the annular solar eclipse? I’m heading south for more shooting, but will hopefully get a recipe up for you later in the week. For now, enjoy the eclipse and be nice to one another. xo

53 nibbles at “not your ordinary sunday”

  1. Sean says:

    Oh! The setting crescent sun! Utterly amazing. We watched it up in Nevada City, CA, but as we’re an hour behind you it was still up higher. Brilliant shots, Jen.

  2. Zita says:

    OMG, this post is incredibly beautiful! Thanks for sharing your photos. I saw a solar eclipse live in 1999 in Hungary. Truly an amazing experience!

  3. Anna says:

    I’ve never had the courage to post before but I just had to do it for these (although everything you post is also fantastic! keep them coming please :) )These photos look amazing! much better than the other ones on news sites :) Thank you! as I’m from the east coast so we can’t witness the eclipse from here xD

  4. Theresa says:

    That shark fin photo is out of this world. What a weird image! And so cool. Yay science! I wish we could have seen it on the East Coast, but I think your photos are the next best thing to being there myself :)

  5. Terry says:

    The best eclipse shots I have seen yet! Dang why did I not get serious about shooting this?

  6. Sharon says:

    These photos are soooo gorgeous!! I live in the East Coast so we totally missed out on the whole eclipse hype… but I had a feeling you would be getting shots of them, so I knew to look here for them! Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos!

  7. Connie says:

    Amazing pictures! It was definitely a phenomenon to see last night.

  8. Jeanne says:

    Once again, one of the reasons I’m so glad I discoverd you, Jen. These are truly beautiful photos. I watched it just west of Sacramento where we had a great open sky view long before sunset here. My host just happened to have two welders hats so we had fun looking dorky sharing the hats between us.

  9. Rocky Mountain Woman says:

    I tried to get a few shots from my deck, but all I got was a dreamy sort of sunset photo!

    It was fun though.

    Your shots are amazing…

  10. joanne says:

    beautiful and gorgeous and breathtaking and amazing.
    thanks for sharing.

  11. Eva @ Eva Bakes says:

    Beautiful photos! I wish I could have seen it but I will have to live vicariously through you!

  12. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    These photos are stunning. I didn’t actually see it, but who cares now! haha

  13. Judy says:

    Awesome photos! The Crest is the best place to be!

  14. Jessica says:

    The shark fin photo was the best! It was cloudy over our county in Colorado, so I wasn’t able to see any of the eclipse, which is too bad but I’m sure I’ll have the chance again someday.

  15. Tamar@StarvingofftheLand says:

    I worship at your altar.

  16. wanG says:

    amazing photos!! love the sharksfin!!

  17. Pauline says:

    Gosh, thank you so much for sharing these pictures, there are just so awesome and breath taking.

  18. Jen says:

    Gorgeous! We had a pretty good view from down in the city, but now I’m wishing I’d made it up to the Crest! Thanks for sharing these fantastic photos.

  19. Memoria says:

    WOW!!! AMAZING PHOTOS!! Thank you so much for sharing these photos with us.

  20. Jen says:

    Wow, magnificent photos! And you’re so right about the eclipse bringing out the love in everybody. We went to a local park (in N. CA) to view the eclipse and didn’t know anybody there. But by the time the eclipse reached totality, adults were sharing food, stories, and solar eclipse glasses while kids were running around and playing together. Such a great memory for the whole family.

  21. Ginger G says:

    … clouds here in Seattle – thanks for the pics and post!

  22. Kathleen says:

    Spectacular shots from a spectacular location. Good Job!

  23. Ruth Ann says:

    So amazing Jen! Thanks for sharing with the Twitter night folk!

  24. Barbara says:

    Wow Jen that is incredible. Amazing photos. I can imagine how great it would have been to be there and watch it. Bit nice to see it via your camera.

  25. Claudia says:

    Very cool images, Jen! We ended up at Lassen NP. We howled there too :) Michael is at a conference in SF this week. Hopefully he will post mages soon!

  26. Pru @ Perfecting Pru says:

    Absolutely beautiful photos (as always) have just sent my mum a text to check out your post!

  27. Parag says:

    Great photos! Loved them all.

  28. Reni says:

    Brilliant photos ! I’ve never seen the sun spots before. Thanks to you, now I can say that I have seen them even if only from your photos. Can u tell us more about the pinhole projection ? How did u do that ?

  29. Debbie says:

    Nothing short of Magnificent!!!!

  30. Kristin says:

    You & Jeremy are great…buying extra glasses?! Sounds like a fun time. Do you think you will do a series of shots in one long frame?

  31. cherie says:

    thank you so much for sharing! wonderful shots

  32. Nate @ House of Annie says:

    I very much enjoyed that series, thank you Jen!

    I was not able to see any of the eclipse as it began East of us in Sarawak. But I did watch in on SLOOH and followed it on Twitter. So it was a pretty exciting morning for me.

  33. laura h says:

    Sandia Crest is in Cibola National Forest, why would a National Parks Pass give you access?

  34. Leeann says:

    Wonderful! Thanks for sharing. Can’t wait to show my son the pictures.

  35. Jill says:

    Thank you for sharing this amazing event! Cloudy here, didn’t see a thing. Not a doubt in my mind you would have extra glasses to share!

  36. Gina says:

    Your pictures are National Geographic worthy! You are so talented.

  37. Ellen says:

    Breathtaking! Thank you…

  38. JulieT says:


  39. Melanie says:

    These are fabulous shots, Jen. Thanks for sharing your wonderful photography and fun experiences!!

  40. Carol says:

    Great photos! These are the best I’ve seen of the eclipse. Thank you!

  41. Libby Nuttall says:

    Wow. Just Wow. Unbelievable photos.

  42. Jenny says:

    Libby took my comment – “just wow” – thank you so much for sharing these moments of beauty with us.

  43. Chris says:

    Thank you so much for sharing you beautiful pictures. I haven’t had the opportunity to witness an eclipse. You just changed that. It was a very lucky day for me when I found your blog. Your recipes are a magnificent and your pictures make me feel like I am there experiencing it. God Bless for sharing

  44. Kari says:

    Wonderful pictures. We were at Folsom but didn’t have anything close to this show. I particularly love the sunset pictures. Long time reader, first time commenter. Cheers!

  45. Bridget says:

    Very cool. And it’s also fun to see Albuquerque through your lens. I love new Mexico so much!

  46. Crystal says:


  47. Lindsey says:

    Excellent photos!

  48. jenyu says:

    Sean – aww, I bet it was terrific where you guys were!

    Zita – lucky!! How wonderful that must have been (my UK neighbors during the eclipse traveled to Hungary to see that one!)

    Anna – thank you for commenting and hello! Part of the reason I like shooting these things is that I get to share with others who may not be able to witness it (and in turn, I appreciate what other photogs share when they are able to view amazing things that I cannot see!) :)

    Theresa – thanks!

    Terry – I heard Colorado got partly cloudy skies, so it was pretty tough.

    Sharon – Good thing I didn’t disappoint, although I just know one day I’m going to get clouded out or something ;)

    Connie – thank you.

    Jeanne – I’m sure that was terrific to see, and no one was watching you in your welders hats because everyone was looking at the sun :)

    Rocky Mountain Woman – thanks.

    joanne – thank you for visiting!

    Eva – :)

    Katrina – ha ha!!

    Judy – it’s such an incredible view. I love being there smelling the pine forests and feeling the cool air <3

    Jessica - 2017 is the next one!

    Tamar - silly!! ;) I worship you right back, hon. xo

    wanG - thanks, I like the shark fin too :)

    Pauline - you're so welcome!

    Jen - absolutely, sharing is one of the best parts of this.

    Memoria - thanks.

    Jen - that sounds fantastic. I wish we had them more often :)

    Ginger G - of course, you are very welcome!

    Kathleen - thank you!

    Ruth Ann - :)

    Barbara - xoxo

    Claudia - nice!! I was wondering where you guys would be. Can't wait to see Michael's images. I loved your iphone shot of the parking lot filled with rings!

    Pru - yay for mums!!

    Parag - thank you.

    Reni - Sure thing! The pinhole projection is exactly what its name describes. Punch a pinhole through a card or sheet of paper (really, use a pin so that it is little). Hold it up to the sun and look at the shadow it casts (preferably on something flat and white). The light coming through the pinhole will show the shape of the sun during eclipse. Some folks have nice setups and project it large so people can watch it - super cool :)

    Debbie - xo

    Kristin - I'll post that Monday xo

    cherie - you're welcome. Thanks for coming by!

    Nate - wow, isn't the internet great? :)

    laura h - the passes get you into most of the recreational jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior. Google the annual park pass and read the description for the full coverage.

    Leeann - oh yes, please share with kids! I hope he enjoys them.

    Jill - :)

    Gina - you're very sweet.

    Ellen - you're welcome!

    JulieT - thanks!

    Melanie - absolutely, it is my pleasure.

    Carol - thank you!

    Libby - glad you enjoyed them.

    Jenny - :)

    Chris - thank you, you're so kind to say.

    Kari - hi and thanks for commenting :) I was hoping Folsom had a decent show since there were so many people there! I heard you guys got to see some of it though, so that's better than total clouds!

    Bridget - it's pretty darn awesome (but a little too hot for me) :)

    Crystal - thank you.

    Lindsey - thanks!

  49. Trolleira says:

    Wow, súch great pictures! We had so much luck, we are passing our holidays in USA right now and have been in Canyonlands NP for the eclipse. As I didn`t get any filter in Brazil for my camera, I decided not to shoot it, also as it was not the whole ring anyway we got at this place! We were just so shocked, how unprepeared the people went to see the eclipse, and how bad prepeared the park management was! That was really disapointing. But the experience at all was quite something! The stunning background just was the right setting for this great happening!

    Have fun at your traveling, we sure do right now!

  50. Brooke says:

    Haha I am always amused by the gluten-free confusion over glutinous rice flour… second only to the confusion over buckwheat :-) I keep wanting to try mochi and this may just put me over the edge to do it.

    There is a fantastic small, no-kill shelter near where I live called pets without parents. We got our most recent little kitten there.

  51. Brooke says:

    sorry, wrong post :-)

  52. Penelope says:

    Wonderful, wonderful pictures. Thank you so much for sharing them and the observations you made about how everyone felt – it was almost like being there!

  53. Jon Hafstrom says:

    Nice photos and glad you had such a fun time, but just a reminder, there is no totality at a partial or annular eclipse. There is the time of maximum eclipse, or the time at which the Moon is centered on the disk of the Sun, but no point of a partial solar eclipse is referenced as totality. And the difference between a partial solar eclipse and a total solar eclipse is somewhat like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

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