Solar eclipse, 11 August 1999

Here's the straight scoop on the solar eclipse of 11 August 1999, as observed in Bamberg.

[people scanning the skies]These people -- or some of them -- had the good sense to buy and use special-purpose protective thingummies.

[the eclipse through cloth]We, however, did not. And I didn't want to risk ruining my retinas. So I decided to view the eclipse in a way that should be both safe and 100% organic: through cloth. What you see here is an authentic photo of the mostly-eclipsed sun as viewed through Bamberg's finest cotton -- specifically, the parasol provided for the restaurant table.

Other sites I have seen -- among them eclipse and Report about the Solar Eclipse on August 11, 1999 -- have excellent photos of the more or less eclipsed sun. However, none appears to have been taken in Bamberg, and certainly none has been taken in Bamberg through cotton. It is my humble hope that this photograph is unique on the web.

It's not doctored, either. I'm sure the photos on the websites I've linked to above are genuine, too -- but elsewhere I've seen stuff that's just as inane as what I concocted for my other page. In particular, remarkably pretty postcards were for sale in Munich a suspiciously short time later. The beautifully-eclipsed sun on these cards is very large against the buildings: possible with an extreme telephoto lens, but then you'd expect plenty of heat haze in the image, and there isn't any.

Now, if you want a truly memorable German view of a solar eclipse, rush to the Heckscher Museum of Art (Huntingdon, NY) and ask for George Grosz's 1926 painting Eclipse of the Sun (Sonnenfinsternis). Unfortunately the museum's own website doesn't show it, but you'll see a good, full-page reproduction in for example Ivo Kranzfelder's excellent and cheap book George Grosz (published by Taschen).

[Bamberg] [Bamberg]Apropos of digital doctoring, consider this pair:

What's up? Are they two views of the same thing, the second taken during the eclipse? Did somebody turn off the light in the second? Or did the flashgun fail to go off?

Maybe it was indeed a flashgun failure (I've forgotten). Anyway, the darker photo is the original (or a reduced sized version thereof), while the lighter one is something I derived from it -- and by using very modestly priced shareware, too.

Any comments? Corrections? Write to me (Peter Evans), or tell the whole world.

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First created -- in home-devised cookie-cutter style (batch files and lean, mean software) -- on 10 September 1999. Last fiddled with: 22 May 2001.

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