Martin and Gemma's Eclipse Trip, France 1999

This is my account of our trip to France to see and experience the total eclipse of the sun....August 11th 1999.

I could hardly believe my eyes, sure enough, there was a VERY thin crescent of the sun high in the sky, and neither of our cameras were pointing at it! I rushed to my XRX and focussed in whilst Bailey's Beads became visible. Sorry these shots are not too sharp, but I was focussing and aiming the camera at the same time as taking the pictures.

Bailey's BeadsLess than a second to go! Totallity!

I checked and re-checked the focus as the eclipse went total, but the light levels were low and I was just not sure if I had it right. " DAD I CAN'T FIND THE SUN " shouted Gemma as she was trying to get her camera aiming in the right direction. It wasn't too easy as we didn't have clear sky, we were watching through high level cloud.

I moved away from my XRX to the KR10x she was using and handed the release switch to her. I set up her camera as she fired away shots on mine. As soon as I had her camera pointing in the right direction, I went back to the XRX and changed shutter speed. I had made plans to change speed several times throughout the eclipse, but it all happened too fast, we were just not ready. Gemma shot at various speeds between 1/250 and 1/4, I used between 1/125 and 1/4 sec. My film ran out just before the diamond ring effect appeared. Using a remote release switch turned out to be very significant. The camera remained stable on the tripod throughout the eclipse and I was able to watch it at the same time. Sadly Gemma's camera did not stay stationary during her shots and her pictures were not too good, but she did capture pictures as totality passed.

Soon the diamond ring had gone and the light level rose sharply. It had been noticeable that the temperature had dropped during the eclipse. Everyone seemed to be happy. 2 groups of people who had been standing nearby joined with us for a celebration eclipse picture...

Our eclipse group

It was really great how Travelsphere had brought people from all over the Britain here to France to enjoy this event. A special vintage bottle of port was opened and shared..very nice indeed!

Celebraton port!

Well now all you need to do is to view the 3 main pictures! There is a close-up of the prominences on my astronomy page

Go to the total eclipse pics

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