Annular solar eclipse
As weeks go, this past one was pretty hectic. It all started early last Thursday morning when I was out the door at 5:00a to capture the annular solar eclipse. I love taking night sky, sunrise and sunset photos, and I knew an eclipse would be challenging. I don’t have a solar filter and there is no chance of avoiding failure and disaster without one. Do not ever point your camera at the sun. Adding my telephoto lens to the equation complicates it further as it is like a huge magnifying glass burning your camera sensor and more importantly, your eyes. I called around and no one had anything available. I also called a few welding supply companies to get some welder glass but even that was sold out. Without a legitimate store bought filter, I decided to try to create a home made version. I remembered as a kid that looking at the sun through a piece 35mm film allows you to safely view it. I might add that size does in fact matter with this project. My lens needs a 95mm filter. Quite large. No worries. Let’s begin. I had a canister of undeveloped 35mm film and started pulling out the strips and cutting them. There go the memories on that roll. Oops. Then I cut a hole in the middle of a square piece of card stock paper and started taping them in place. Strip by strip. It did not have a professional aesthetic to it. But it worked!!!! A funny story about a fellow enthusiast joining me at the sight. He had top line equipment, as do I, but he said he had a solar filter and he did not! He struggled badly to get a clear shot and I wasn’t surprised. His filter was a neutral density type and isn’t designed for direct sunlight. Anyhow, I helped him with a few settings and hoped he didn’t damage his camera. I took over a hundred frames and was pretty happy. Mostly it was great to see an eclipse in real time.
We decided a while ago that we don’t really need 2 vehicles so selling one seemed like a plan. My wife’s Hyundai Tucson had 18,000 kms on it and after a major detailing job, it was showroom condition. Honestly. The process of posting an ad on Auto Trader and Kijiji was simple and the platform is very impressive. I took some professional quality photos and away we went. The first 24 hours was a gong show. I had a half dozen scammers in minutes. And the stories they had to tell. All absurd. I was even texting with someone on the Saturday night about coming over to see the vehicle on Sunday morning. Just then, they sent me a link to do a bogus VIN check. I noticed the area code was in Kansas City and asked about that. The response was ridiculous. Anyhow, I said see you tomorrow morning at 10am and bring a certified cheque. Crickets. I also had 3 or 4 dealers, who at least were legitimate, but they all were insultingly low ball offers. I was really getting frustrated with it all. Then, bingo, a real buyer with motivation and intent. She came to see the vehicle as promised and knew it was a good deal and we agreed on a transaction. She’d been in an accident with her previous car and I could tell she was stressed about getting a replacement. She gave us a generous deposit and we’d deliver the car the next evening. When she came to pick it up, we noticed the name was incorrect on the bank draft. Oh oh. No worries, I drove her and Dawn to our bank and as always, my wife solves the problem! It was funny to watch the two of them emerge from the bank with masks on while I waited in a running getaway car. It all ended well but not before a few other details that needed to be worked out we’re completed. The used vehicle information sheet for example. We’re really happy that she was happy. As for the experience overall. 10 for the result, 10 for the website and 1 for the fraudsters and low ballers. Although I did enjoy going back and forth with a few of them.
2nd Dose of Vaccine
On Friday we received a call from the clinic in Kingston where we had our first dose of Astra Zeneca vaccine in March. They offered us the 2nd dose on Sunday afternoon. We jumped at the chance. It’s a simple drive to Kingston for us. We pull up, see many people that look like us, check in, and 2 minutes later we had needles in our arms. Done!!!! They did offer us an alternative vaccine for the second dose but we decided to stick with AZ. We immediately drove back to Stittsville and felt good about it all. We both had rough days on Monday with aches and fevers. Dawn was a little longer with side effects, But all in all. It feels amazing to be fully vaxed. I’m not too worried about the controversy regarding AZ. We’ll see if that affects us moving forward in regards to travel. We’ll ALL need boosters in the years to come anyhow. Get yours if you haven’t.
We had a lot of activity this spring in the rafters of our deck cover. Several nests were built and as much as I don’t want be responsible for the well being of eggs and hatchlings and fledglings, it’s been fun to watch. 3 nests were completed. 2 had eggs and 1 had hatchlings. I was able to take some good photos while trying not to disturb. The problem was our backyard is not super quiet and there probably was too much activity for the Mother and Father going back and forth feeding them. I think the last straw was the hedge trim next door which was very loud and lasted for hours. It probably stressed the Mom. The result was an empty nest on the Sunday morning!!! All 3 gone. No signs of trauma, or destruction of the nest. Just empty. I want to believe they flew away and are all fine. The alternative is they were taken by their Mother somewhere quieter (unlikely though as I researched answers) or they were taken by predators. Nature is fantastic. But also sucks!!!!
I wrapped the week up with my regular 60 day blood donation. I always feel better after giving. No doubt it is needed. I have a lot of respect for the staff. The protocols are strict and the the lines are long. It took me about 90 minutes yesterday. But everyone was professional and patient. So worth the inconvenience. Well done all.
Father’s Day First day of Summer!!!
Finally, this Sunday is Father’s Day and the beginning of summer. I’m excited for both events. Although this means days will start to get shorter. The two best days on social media are Mothers and Fathers days!!! So much love, so many tributes, so many memories. I won’t see both my sons this year but will catch up with Brady on FaceTime I’m sure. I look forward to seeing all the posts!!!! Happy Fathers Day!!
Thanks for reading and stay well!!!