The 2001 Solstice
Total Solar Eclipse
(from Zambia, Africa)

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leafTotality Over Africa (one for the ages!)
Immediately below follows our preliminary report, posted the same day most of us got back from Africa. Then we include notes about traveling, the trip, the eclipse report itself, and some additional photos and texts.
You may also enjoy reading a short story I've just stumbled upon, "Eclipse", written by American author, James Fenimore Cooper, around 1835. This captures the experience poignantly, and certainly demonstrates that Cooper enjoyed a fine view of the eclipse he saw as a youth of 17, on June 16, 1806, from his parents home in Otswego, NY.
Note: all photos open big into a new window when clicked. To return to the text, just CLOSE the new window.

3rd C 01
First Report From Zambia
Another great corona!
(click each)

It's the first total eclipse of the sun in the new millennium! How appropriate to be able to witness it from Africa, where the namesake film's magical allignment took place! Herewith we present an ultra quick preview of this wonderful corona, about as fast as one can make a reasonable web presentation of something only three days past. The above two images were taken digitally on Thursday afternoon, June 21, 2001. Our group left for home that night, traveling all day and night since then. I got in this morning and was too damn curious to go to sleep, despite a difficult final two days of travel. The itch to look at what the small digital camera had gotten led to some rapid-fire preliminary compositing, and a chance to show you one of the most glorious eclipses I've ever witnessed. Here's a composite print of the corona assembled from four Camedia exposures, to the left, which shows how round the sun's glory was on that ultra clear afternoon, taken from The Barn Motel, in Lusaka, Zambia. Better versions (with much longer f.l. lenses) will have to wait the 2 1/4" negatives processing, scanning, and a proper compositing job. The corona here is rotated so that North is at the top of the image, as usual. At our site it was rotated about 130 degrees CW.
The second shot is a wide angle single exposure, as the 3rd contact diamond ring had just begun, and shows how dark and transparent the skies over most of the path were all that day long. Easiest eclipse experience ever: shelter, a smooth firm surface, chairs, arches and a roof to hide from the sun, a clean motel room only a few feet away. The people of the Barn Motel were so kind and cooperative, all of the people we met in Zambia were extraordinarily friendly and helpful, and they celebrated with excellent local drumming and dancing all the afternoon. It was one incredibly rich experience, and I'll be adding more to this all too brief description, with a brain, or what's left of it, about to self-detonate. Have a look at the larger versions as usual, by clicking on each.
(We'll be adding a lot more to follow in the next couple of weeks.) -- W.C., June 23, 2001


leafOff To Africa

As trips go, this one was wonderful once we all arrived; but the traveling was decidedly NOT wonderful. It's become much less fun to fly, and a lot more punishing than, say, 10 or 20 years ago, IMHO. This time none of our small group of 20 saw our luggage for most of the trip -- Argghh! We had to live with whatever clothing we'd worn on board, or things we bought in Lusaka, at their impressively modern Manda Hill Shopping Mall. Most of us could find whatever important necessities we'd need as we headed down to Livingstone. Finally, after the pervasive subtle fear that we'd not be getting our equipment in time for the eclipse, Tuesday evening we were told everything had finally been found. Yes (thank you, super-experienced Tony, who worked on it for days)! And we got our suitcases and equipment bags in good shape. Most of the personal items by now had become moot, (we'd be leaving for home late Thursday, after all), although it was comfortable and quite pleasant to have other clothing to wear (example of coolly detached, nonchalant understatement...). But one learns by dealing with such disappointments -- we still enjoyed our trip a lot. And then as an added bonus, we could prepare to photograph totality, which I did most of the afternoon of the just prior day, rechecking angles and every device. By the looks of the seasonally clearing weather (which was late to begin this year), we were going to be treated to a most reasonable shot at observing this one nicely, without even having to leave the Barn Motel!
The other activity that had been curtailed by the loss of most baggage was observing the southern night skies. We were with a cheerful, experienced group of amateur astronomers, and would have had more telescopes than you could shake a Barlow or Deepsky filter at. We did that on the final two nights, even getting the motel to shut off most lighting during our observing hours. But at the gorgeous Wasawanga Lodge in Livingstone we had to improvise. One thoughtful astronomer had an 8" Celestron tube, but no mount or tripod. Someone else had a tripod, another a few other components. There were binoculars, eyepieces, red flashlights -- it would serve the opportunity. We talked about pooling equipment to take totality photos on Thursday, "just in case." So several small "star parties" were cleverly assembled, under wonderfully deep, dark skies. A big, bright Mars rose to directly overhead at midnight, while the center of our own Milky Way galaxy swung silently over a wide swath of sky. Everything seemed to leap out of the heavens right at us, easily down to 6th magnitude. Deepsky objects snapped into view. Shucks, we sure don't get that back in the NE of the old USA. It was well worth the frustrations and improvisations. We'll show you a few shots from the trip, down below. But meanwhile, let's return to that small matter of an eclipse... 

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leaf2001 -- An Eclipse Odyssey

pan total

So it was written; so it was done. I must admit that when I first saw Kubrick's "2001, A Space Odyssey", I laughed out loud at the opening sunrise strains of Strauss's "Zarathustra." I knew it so well it then seemed like a venerable cliche (certainly it now is), and with thoughts of Vera Lynn's singing of "We'll Meet Again" to send up the ending "Dr. Strangelove," it seemed Stanley was being ironically over the top to start the African Dawn of Man section of "2001", what Monty Python would later call: "wink, nudge, say no more." But I was wrong. He DID intend the literal grandeur of music and image to define this enigmatic collaboration with Arthur C. Clarke, as a selection of great moments in history, and of history yet to come.
Now, 33 years later, it has come to pass. You already know we passed into 2001 without one whit of hyperbolized biblical prophesies to kow-tow our fearful heads before; the New Millennium slipped in like any other new day, new month, new year, new century, or new millennium. Not even much developed of ye olde "Y2k Bug," for all the hoo-hah, thanx to some intelligent advance repair work. And on the Solstice whence new seasons are marked, another kind of prophecy became fulfilled. The date: 2001 June 21st; the place: Africa. I was fortunate to be among those who thronged to Lusaka, Zambia, to witness this memorable event, under completely clear skies. It's still as indelibly engraved in my memory as a near-magical experience, complete with the overtones from film and novel. And as such a magical conjunction was described in both of those, the events unfurled that sunny afternoon, proving reality can be at least as astonishing as any word or film frame.

2nd Contact: Totality Commences!
(click = big view)

I wish I had more than words and images to offer to you here (sound? smells?), especially the many of you who were not so lucky to witness this splendid eclipse. But I can at least make an attempt to offer up some very fine images, mixed in with my purple prose, to help bring back what we saw that day. Just above you can view the diamond ring that started totality. As predicted by noting the deep lunar valleys located where the sun's last rays would shine over, this one lasted much longer than usual, if not quite as long as the 1977 eclipse 2nd contact, which was over 11 sec. Being just south of the centerline, as we were, also enhanced the length of this dramatic "diamond."
The image that begins this section is a special 120 degree wide-angle photo from mid totality. There is a huge tree off to the left, then one of the Barn Motel employees is visible near us, as he enjoys nature's spectacle. The grounds of the motel with many other trees dot the horizon, as we swing slowly to the far right, where some of our rooms were located. That's the overhang of the patio just in front of my room, and a couple of telescopes (with a friend viewing at one of them) can just be made out. The corona glows silvery in the sky to the upper center, at about 31 degrees above the horizon, a rather easy angle to view and photograph from. Isn't it both beautiful and dramatic? Here's the same point of view totality shot again, but this time in a Cinerama-like Ultra Panoramic image, which can give you a better impression of "being there."

pan tot ultra
Being There: The "Cinerama" View
(Click for a large panoramic version)

Um... still feeling blase? The first images I saw and shared with you in the preliminary section at the top were from the small digital camera that was setup beside the telescopes just for the fun of seeing what it would produce. You can view the wide angle and close-up views again above. But after another week to get the large negatives developed, scanned, and then carefully processed into some new composite coronal photos, we have much better to offer you. Some of our best work, big and clear. Below are two examples.

12 Negative Composite  --  4 Rad-Grad Exposures
(click either for a large view)

The leftmost image is the first one I completed via my usual compositing techniques. This originates from no less than 12 different negatives, of 1/125th of a second all the way to 6 seconds duration, taken with my trusty Rollei SL-66 6 x 6 (cm) format camera, mounted on the 30 year old Nikkor 1200 mm f/11 tele lens (took it apart and cleaned & aligned it before leaving). This time the combo was mounted on a Wimberley tripod pan head, something rather new and cool. It's used a lot by wildlife photographers who need to hold heavy cameras and big lenses freely, for fast aiming, but perfectly steadily and securely. It allows you to balance your setup at its exact center of mass, so that the whole heavy assembly almost appears to "float" with very little friction (unless you need or want some). That makes it easy to set up quickly (there's an extra clever quickmount, too), and acquire your aim with alacrity.
First time I tried it was a couple of weeks ago (saw it in the huge B&H store in NYC). For the long exposures the Wimberley people suggested a small monopod beneath the camera, to steady it a little extra on long exposures. That worked well, although the ideal setup is something yet to work out. The proof of how well it functioned is that all 12 exposures were rock solid, very sharp and a pleasure to scan at high res (2820 dpi), adjust, and composite. I wish I had a straightforward method every time to assemble these composite coronal images, but I don't. Each event is much more "top of the head" than via a "recipe."
Usually I begin with the longest exposures, merging several similar frames to reduce any residual grain, get a nice rich image quality. Then each slightly shorter exposure has to be added, rotated and placed exactly in the center (alignment is crucial), and blended to match what's already there. You have to grade them darker towards their center, too, and remove all "quasi black" outer sky unexposed regions completely (a job of masking). I've gotten faster with each eclipse, and this time the scanning and preliminaries took one day of 14 hours, then the combining took as many again the following day. It went very smoothly (perhaps practice does make, if not "perfect," then at least enough for: "we need it Monday..."). I will try to post a narrative of some of the kinds of steps I do here eventually, a promise.

The second, rightmost image is a merging of four special negatives, all taken by the formidably capable coronophile and image collaborator, Jonathan Kern
(check out his report and view all his negatives HERE). So this section could aptly be titled: "With a Little Bit of Help From My Friend!" (but wouldja believe it, after 30 years, we've yet to meet, F2F...?). His skills are like Clarke's 1st Law: indistinguishable from magic. I've spoken about him several times before, notably in regards to our collaborative images for the '98 and '99 eclipses. Jon was in Lusaka as part of Jay Pasachoff's ambitious Williams College eclipse expedition. They were mostly stationed on a roof of the Intercontinental Hotel near midtown, while Jon chose to observe and photograph with a smaller subset of them at the University of Zambia campus (where they were rooming), in the northern part of Lusaka city. He had the same ideal conditions we did, and took some gorgeous negatives with his wonderful custom eclipse camera. Jon generously calls it his "Newkirk Camera", in honor of the same late, great Gordon Newkirk I mention at the top of the main eclipse page. (Thank you, Gordon, your innovative ideas continue on after you.)
Merging four images (each 6 x 7 scan was over 125 megs -- lordy, how our perceptions of "large files" have changed!) increased the quality of the resulting image, as many of you know, cancelling out any residual grain. When you use the special radially graded filters that Jon makes, the brightness of the corona becomes rather dim at the film, so fast emulsions are often used. With that grain becomes more visible, thus in combining four excellent exposures you achieve a lovely tradeoff. The four frames were taken with durations of: 20 s., 40 s., another of 40 s., and one of 10 seconds. Very long exposures require super accurate tracking, and as usual, his work was impeccable this eclipse. You can detect that there is a darkening of the sky towards the center, due to the filter, which appears to the eye as a gradually darkening spot at the center, fading away to clear around to the sides.
Note that the two images above are not all that different, the corona is very similar on each one, despite very different techniques for each. Proves we're on the right track. It may be unfair and misleading to put these side by side above, since the 12 negative version has already had a lot of optimizing and tweaking done, while Jon's version is just the merge of four of the original negatives, including the usual level adjusting and tedious manual removal of dirt spots and blemishes. So there's a LOT more info in the right image than you may notice at first glance. The scale is not quite the same as for the other, and it has yet to be rotated by 6.7 degrees CCW to get the exact north point on top. That step has already been done on my first composite. The remaining step was to combine these into one further "composite," scaling and orienting the components to match, even to nudging the lunar disk itself slightly (taken from different locations, at different times into totality).
(click = big view of the16 negative composite)
 Behold the Glorious Corona!

This is the final gorgeous result. It looks just as we and many friends remember it. My negatives were taken with a somewhat shorter lens than Jon uses, so more outer sky was photographed, but at lower image scale. Compositing of 12 negatives gave a very smooth middle through outer coronal, fading into the sky tones. Jon's more powerful lens showed the inner and middle details to much better advantage, and the prominences and lunar limb were visibly sharper, too. I combined these together, and then began the usual long job of hand-optimizing and tweaking the final results. There were subtle color casts introduced by both cameras and films used (happens all the time, but nearly neutral coronal grays make it particularly easy to see), which had to be corrected. The sky tone brightness and hue had to be made more uniform. And a very small degree of omnidirectional sharpening was added at the end, to compensate for the inevitable losses in lenses and scanning of physical emulsions. This is nothing like the often exaggerated, rotary-astigmatic unsharp masks that many eclipse chasers now use regularly, which generate a great many image artifacts, as the structure is revealed and dissected more analytically than the eye perceives. Jon's and my goal has always been to come as close to a naked eye appearance as possible (but not any closer than that... ;^).

xray cor
The X-Ray Vision View! (click)

The next image above combines the 16 negative composite just described with three x-ray images taken that same afternoon by the SOHO EIT and Yohkoh orbiting satellite solar observatories, beamed back to Earth. I've combined those which represent very well the surface of the sun at that same hour, and carefully "insinuated" the combination into the dark lunar disk (again, North is to the top). This view depicts nicely the interaction between the Sun's chromosphere and photosphere and the coronal streamers, helmets and arches. The relationship with the solar prominences is vivid, it even looks three-dimensional, especially with such an active sun as we've had this past year. I thought that the 1999 eclipse was an active type corona. But this one may have been even better, an excellent example of a maximum corona. It's amazingly complex and omnidirectional, don't you think? In another few years you can expect eclipses to show a narrowing down (away from the poles) and dimming, with much less activity and complexity, while the solar disk gradually begins to lose its spotting.
For those of you who are curious about matters scientific and rigorous, you might enjoy looking through SAIC's Coronal Modeling Page. Here you can consider how difficult the task has been to come up with a mathematical way to model in a Cray supercomputer all the best data on the current status of the sun, and from that, predict what coronal shape ought be seen during the next total solar eclipse. The predictions are refined as the date draws near, and then these bright folks give it their best shot. They've asked to use some of Jon's and my images as references for what a particular corona's shape was actually seen and photographed, a check on the prediction. They're getting amazingly good at it. I got a kind note about their latest prediction just a few days before heading off to Zambia, and brought their images along. It matched the larger features very well (sort of a symmetrical six petaled starburst shape). The detailed smaller spikes and streamers are much more difficult. It will be fascinating to watch the continuing progress on this front.

Some Eclipse Links:
 You may also enjoy looking at several other good eclipse websites which cover this totality from other points of view. I've mentioned Jon Kern, and he's posted all of his negatives, in large sizes, too, for several recent eclipses, 1998, 1999 and 2001. He includes additional information on his special radially graded filters, too.
Fred Espenak has earned his informal title of "Mr. Eclipse" (people kept seeing him and calling him that, whenever they would attend any eclipse) from his extraordinary series of Eclipse Bulletins, photos and related information (we're all in his debt). You can get lost in his two eclipse sites, the original info-packed nasa one HERE, and the newer more informal one HERE.
Bob Yen has been collecting many excellent images for several years now, at recent total eclipses, and astronomical (comets, meteor showers, transits, etc.) and other events and people. Good stuff. Its all very much worth a look at his homepage, from which you can easily get to his 2001 Zambian eclipse report, too.
It's difficult to do a proper job of compositing eclipse images, as some of these descriptions will give hint. And it takes time and practice to learn the needed skills. Generally medium format and longer lenses are helpful during totality. Algorithmic or "recipe" methods represent a compromise, although there's a lot of fun and personal satisfaction to be gained from trying it on your own.
The best series of tips I've seen recently are
at this Adobe link, written by Russell Brown (download the pdf version). Well, the first part of his method can produce good composites if done carefully. But take his final suggestions on rotary unsharp masking with a grain of salt (when someone mentions the cliched pair: "radial spin" and "unsharp mask," you're in for a lot of overprocessed artifacts). If you must, try modest settings, like 7 or 8 spin, with no more than 30-50% blending of the final overlay(s), and you'll be nearer a naked eye appearance. Or just skip those steps, using minimal amounts of regular (omnidirectional) sharpening and unsharp masking, like I do, to compensate for any optical and scanning losses.
There are good astrophotography tips also to be found on the web, such as this fine site by the formidable team of Wallis and Provin. And don't forget the coronal modeling page just described.
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leafOther Trip Photos
(Click on each)

top of falls

On the same trip our small group, well planned for by Tony Lopes (I'd travel with him again), of East African Travel Consultants, Inc., visited Livingstone, Zambia. A really impressive visit to Victoria Falls was part of our itinerary. This is another truly astonishing sight of nature as creator of spectacle. Just amazing! For me it seemed more dramatic than Niagra Falls, although I love that powerhouse of a natural wonder, too. The usual views are of the front of the Falls, with the thundering mass of water falling before one, generally raising a massive spray of water and mist, too, so that you and cameras can easily get soaked! But there's also a path leading off to the right, up to the side of the Falls just before the precipice. The water is aerated and becomes a foamy mass, rushing along to greet the falling edge.
That day I saw it was mostly clear and sunny, as the southern hemisphere's Winter was about to begin. I was glad I'd taken along the new "toy" -- a Russian-made "Horizon" camera bought from an importer on eBay a few months earlier. It's the same camera I took the totality wide angle shot that starts this eclipse page narrative. The design is similar to the Widelux: the lens swings from left to right in a broad arc, sweeping the image onto the film, which rests against a curved filmgate inside. That's how it can squeeze the 120 degrees through a simple 28 mm lens, by moving it, scanning the image through a narrow slit. Clever device, with not one whit of electronics or silicon on board.
So I found my way out to the water's edge on several large boulders, and hoped to capture a bit of this exciting location with a camera ideally suited to the task. Then after scanning the negatives and seeing the results, I thought that this image will always remind me of the wonderful experience of touring this fascinating country with friendly people, so a copy of it rightly belongs here. It's pretty large when you click this one, so you may need to scroll it around on smaller monitors, sorry. Also this is one view you can go and experience on your own, unlike the particular ephemera within narrow lunar shadow paths that define far too great a portion of my life (see, doctor, I can admit it).
Let's include a panoramic view of the front of Vic Falls, too. This one is about the best I was able to get. As you went down lower and closer you saw somewhat more of the Falls. But the splash and spray and mist became MUCH worse, too. Losing proposition for getting an ideal wide view. But this one, nearer to the top of the path, came out fine. You can nearly make out the location the first dramatic shot was taken from -- the boulders and trees are just out of view to the upper right.

vic's falls

The hotel we stayed in while down in Livingstone (after a difficult, all day drive in a small bus down gutted, bumpy roads which were being constructed while we were there -- many were in much better shape on the return!) was wonderful: The Wasawange Lodge. It was off-season, so we were able to get all the rooms we needed, and at a lower price for our group. The units were actually individual buildings, or cabins/huts, spacious and most comfortable. You can get a small idea of the attractive landscaping of the Lodge from the next shot below left, taken in front of unit #14, where I stayed for three nights. To the right is an interior view. The units are hexagonal in floor plan, with very tall ceilings, nicely appointed. We observed the astonishing night skies from the slight hill behind the rooms, with most of the lights turned off. Later we discovered the beautifully dark and low horizon to the South passed right over Victoria Falls -- no wonder there were no tall obstructions of any kind!
In Livingstone we also visited a small game park (I may post some animal shots), a few good museums, and experienced a "sunset cruise" and barbeque on the Zambezi River. The latter was gorgeous. A bit touristy, to be sure, but even so enjoyably well done, and we were all glad to have been a part of it. I'll long recall the nearly white "ghost trees" that the western side of the river had in abundance. I asked one local about them, and learned that these trees are common, have a white bark not unlike our birch trees in the Americas, and when in bloom have such diminutive leaves that you never lose the impression of a skeleton of a tree. We saw few palm trees. In their winter, just starting, the daylight temperatures might reach the mid 70's F, while during or after our star parties it often dipped into the low 50's, or less a couple of nights.

wasa room

No tale of an eclipse chase would be complete without showing you a brief look at the equipment. Let's look at another one of the panoramic shots taken with the Horizon camera (note the curved look of horizontal lines that the swing lens produces, unless shown in the special Cinerama style Ultra views, like some above, where the curvature cancels out). This was an attractive, comfortable setting to experience an eclipse from. I even had a chair while viewing -- which may be a first! You can see the graceful archways our motel section was made up from, and realize that this was a roofed-in patio, so one could find shelter from the sun. Meanwhile, the room was only a few feet behind this spot, certainly convenient. And having not one bit of cloud threat for three days, naturally colors my memory of this eclipse as probably the easiest, most pleasurable one I've yet experienced. Marvelous corona, too!

equip 01

Usually I get some static whenever I forget to include a more personal photo or two, perhaps to "humanize" the eclipse report (what do I know?), and I've received requests for some more shots with me all ready to go, on site. Fine. Here's a pair of photos taken just minutes before totality, facing the opposite way from the above shot. You can see how modest the rig has become in recent years (nothing like the mass of gear we carted around in the 70's and early 80's). Seems to be the way many of us become over time: essentials only. The Wimberley tripod pan head can be seen rather well here. I was at the Rollei, a solar filter still in place on the lens (removed only some seconds before totality), and as you can see, seated comfortably, for a change, cable release in hand. There were only a few other cameras, you can see the small digital one to the lower left, while the Horizon panoramic and standard wide angle cameras were off just to the right, on the elevated chair used for support. A friend operated the Celestron 760mm lens in the center, using the same setup as on the 1984 shipboard observations described earlier. (My GPS gave the coordinates: 15 deg 21.60' S, 28 deg 26.66' E, 3877 feet altitude. It's currently quite visible with Google Earth, if you navigate to the Barn Motel using those values.)
In the right photo you can see Jon Kern, taken at nearly the same moment, at his site on the University of Zambia campus (at about 15 miles away this was about as close to a meeting as we were able to pull off -- neither of us could find transportation in time to meet in Lusaka. Damn, we've been nearby like this before, never quite intersecting except via electronic and mail media...!) You'll see Jon's wonderful "Newkirk Camera" here. It can be assembled and moved very quickly, he reports. The tube is rigidly mounted horizontally, with the lens facing a precision mirror at the lower right. This "coelostat" is in turn motor driven to follow the sun. It's a lovely way to go, since with a good mirror there's no measurable loss. The "camera" body over near Jon is part of a Mamiya RB-67. The special radial filter is mounted in the camera body, just in front of the film. As you can tell, I'm very impressed by this unique setup Jon has built for "capturing the wild corona!"

all set!
Jon's set!

Just before we packed and left, Jon took several photos of his Newkirk Camera to show several of us the latest incarnation. Let me include a good overall view here, to supplement what you can see in the above shot. Note the surveyor's type tripods, one with the standard three legs, the other modified to rest on two, the third lying up along the telescope's tube. The electrical controls are attached via a wire to the coelostat 's motor drive, so you needn't take your eye from the camera's viewfinder to adjust the aim, which must be very, very accurate when using these special radial filters. To the right below is another shot taken at the Barn Motel that afternoon. This motel is often used by local Zambians. The afternoon of the eclipse was no exception, and we discovered many tables set near the pool for a special lunch and invited eclipse viewing. The Barn thoughtfully asked some young local drummers and dancers to come by to provide a marvelously spirited accompaniment for the festivities (I like that lounging figure in the lower right). They performed over in the meadow near the Motel's own small water tank, which is partially hidden behind the tree at center. You can pick out the tank also in the panoramic totality views above. So we heard drum beatings from roughly the direction of the partial eclipse, becoming suddenly quiet during totality.

jk newest

That will give you some idea of the locations. While poor, Zambia is a much more thriving country than Niger, site of my first African eclipse adventure, in '73. It's not the Sahara Desert, after all, but has grasslands, brushlands and many trees (guess I'm not much of a "desert rat"... oh, well). Some of it resembles parts of the Eastern US, even to the soil colors, which shouldn't be that surprising. At one time we were connected side by side into Pangea, after all. Beautiful country, which locals describe as "The Real Africa." I can't disagree with that. And the lovely way the books describe the Zambian people is perhaps understatement: they gave us so much, and made our week there something not soon to be forgotten.
I wish all of you could have accompanied us. I wish you could have heard the modest announcer intelligently describing the eclipse on their single local television channel. He and his young friends did a beautiful, fine job, poetically emotional, visually competent, while on a shoestring. Yet he was apologizing for their simple means and equipment, oblivious of what a good job they were doing. (Can't imagine that happening back home...) Serena took good care of our rooms every day, such a touchingly sweet woman, and Gertrude, a manager at the motel, was most helpful. My inconvenient allergy to molds required a removal / change of the bedspreads (which worked) and they took care of it graciously. It was fun to show them how to view a total eclipse safely and effectively. They glowed when they came to "thank us" later, as if we had anything to do with this rare natural spectacle. Something quite special returned with us from Zambia, like an aura or glow. I hope that a few of these images and descriptions might bring a smile to you. Thanx for looking and reading through all of the continuing tale!
--Wendy Carlos, New York City July 2001+

© 2008 Wendy Carlos - No images, text, graphics or design
may be reproduced without permission. All Rights Reserved.

On viewing the photos: These images will not necessarily look correct unless displayed on a color monitor with at least 16-bit color. Images of the sun's corona are particularly difficult to reproduce without 24-bit color, although you ought get the general effect of the image in 16-bit mode. We're sorry, if there were an easy way around this, we'd all be millionaires!

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