Monday, 15 October 2012

Eclipse Cartoons

(c)2012 Bill Kramer
I have been having a lot of fun drawing eclipse cartoons and instead of posting them one at a time here, I have created a library on to host them. Click here to see the entire library of eclipse related cartoons.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Charge your Battery (Eclipse cartoon)

(c)2012 Bill Kramer
Minutes before totality is NOT the time to learn that your battery is almost dead. It pays to have a spare, fully charged battery ready to go at those times.

Before totality, prolonged exposure to the heat of the Sun and use of the camera may chew up a lot of the power quickly. Be prepared, have an extra battery or refrain from using the camera too much. Keep an eye on that power meter!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Solar Eclipse reveals those who sleep in (Eclipse cartoon)(c)

(c)2012 Bill Kramer
Sleeping in and missing the morning sun god prayers has consequences this day as an eclipse falls across some ancient civilization (see the pyramids). Yes, the guys look kind of Roman and kind of Mexican... it is a universal thing.

Packing for the Eclipse (Eclipse Cartoon)

(c)2012 Bill Kramer
Packing for an eclipse trip is a balancing act. You need to take along extra clothing and the airlines impose weight and bag count limits. I recommend carrying on all the optical equipment and cameras. The tripods and mounts can be packed. Just keep in mind that you will want a change of clothes. This is especially true when going to an eclipse by cruise ship where dining is semi formal.

Tip: Use clothes to wrap the equipment in the suitcase instead of bubble wrap or foam. Cases are not needed when the contents are wrapped carefully and placed well in the luggage.

Tip: If you have really advanced equipment, leave the inspector a clear diagram and note informing them what everything is. You might also include your cell phone number should they have any questions. The note can be placed in the luggage near the top.

Tip: Your expensive optics and cameras are NOT safe going through checked luggage. Think of them as jewelry and carry them on.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Do Not Forget to Look (Eclipse cartoon)

(c)2012 Bill Kramer
A total solar eclipse is an awesome event. For the astronomy buff, the desire to try capturing an image or video is immense. And if the event is taking place near by you can bring a lot of equipment along. And of course, the more imaging equipment you intend to use, the less time you have to just observe. The important thing to remember is that you really want to SEE the eclipse. Spending the entire time imaging it is not the same as actually experiencing it with your own eyes. When setting up an eclipse run, plan some time to just look and don't miss the "wow!" moments.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Do Not Overheat (Eclipse cartoon)

(c)2012 Bill Kramer
There is just over an hour between first and second contact. Even though there is an eclipse going on, you and your equipment are taking in a lot of sunshine. To protect yourself, use sunscreen and drink plenty of liquids. Your equipment should be shaded when not in use.

Modern electronics are able to endure a wide range of temperatures but they are still subject to over heating when left in the direct sunlight. Experiments with a modern camera/video recorder had repeated problems when recording sunsets after as little as half an hour of pre-sunset direct exposure. Simply keeping the camera out of the direct sunlight during the same intervals prevented those problems.

When moving optics from an air conditioned environment to the outside one must also be aware of humidity changes as well as the temperature. Cameras and telescopes need to adapt to the surrounding temperature to perform at optimum capacity.

Thus it is highly recommended to set up your equipment before first contact (or shortly after) and cover it with an umbrella or a light colored towel to keep it in the shade.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

No Flash Photography! (Eclipse cartoon)

(c)2012 Bill Kramer
Taking a picture of everyone using a flash camera is simply not a good idea. The flash blinds people for a few seconds and that is very bad during a total solar eclipse. Anyone who was wearing an eyepatch will instantly loose the dark adaptation they spent all that time to achieve. The photograph will not look all the interesting either - that is, if your camera survives the after photograph attack.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Remove your filter (cartoon)

(c)2012 Bill Kramer
Remember! Before totality remove your solar filter. When using an automatic camera set up it is easy to forget. And when forgotten, is very frustrating, and you will become an anti-celebratant in the post eclipse party. So don't forget to remove your solar filter just before totality.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Eclipse Maps 2012

Strongly recommended: Total Solar Eclipse of November 14, 2012 by Michael Zeiler

Enhanced Maps and Observer Information

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A lot of eyeballs

100,000 visitors have been to since Feb of 2012. Thanks!

During this time period there was an annular solar eclipse visible in the USA and that accounts for about a quarter of the visitors. The majority of visitors are from the USA with Australia running in second. And that makes sense because the next total solar eclipse visible will be next month, in North East Australia.

Visitors from through out the USA

How did I track the visitors? Ever notice that globe in the lower right corner? Click on it to go to the Revolver Maps website. For the use of a cool globe with dots they also provide basic demographic information about the web site. Don't worry, they don't grab email addresses or do anything evil (that I can detect). Of course, if they do, just let know and that funky globe goes away.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Eclipse Photography

One of the most frequently referenced sections in is the Photography section. Some time ago a request was made to convert that information into a portable document and this past month I've been learning about ePub documents while working with the web site contents. The result is a new book you can download to your tablet computer (such as an iPad). If you get a chance to download and read it, please let me know if you find anything missing or incorrect. One advantage of creating this as an ePub is that I can continuously update it as new information is learned.

eBook for tablet computers
Here is a direct link to the ePub document.

You can visit my newest web page ( for hosting this (and other) documents where you will find PDF as well as ePub files. PDF is not as fancy looking but it contains the same information.