The Great Eclipse of 2017

gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
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Composite Eclipse August 21, 2017 Copyright Impact Photography 2017

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on August 27, 2017

"I've seen a total eclipse from every continent – including Antarctica. And it's been a wonderful way to see the world. The eclipses take you to really unusual, off-beat places that you might not normally plan a vacation to, but they're wonderful places to go."
–Fred Espenak​, Goddard Scientist Emeritus, and retired NASA astrophysicist

The Great Eclipse of 2017, the first total eclipse visible in the continental U.S. in over 38 years, first intruded upon my awareness toward the end of last year. 

It was only during the spring that my plans began to crystallize. Photography being both my avocation and a part-time job, it occurred to me that if I did not make a good faith effort to get inside the zone of totality with a camera, I would regret it for the rest of my days. What kind of real photographer would not try? The die was cast.

So how do you photograph the sun? You need a filter and a long lens, plus a tripod. I read articles to learn how.

You have to start with a solar filter. Even if 99% of the sun is covered by the moon, the remaining 1% is dangerous to view with the naked eye and can  damage eyes or cause blindness, no matter what Orange Twitler did.

There are several options, including cheap filter sheets. Full-aperture solar filters are preferred because the filter completely covers the front of the lens. Even though  expensive, I decided to suck it up and purchase a 77mm solar filter, an "ND100000," which refers to the neutral density filter factor in play. Welder's visor, indeed. It fit perfectly on my Nikkor 70-200mm lens.

Totality is the only time it is safe to look directly at the event. So when shooting an eclipse it is important to remember that at totality you must REMOVE the filter to make exposures of the sun's corona.

Yes, my lens was only a 200mm. The smart kids or those with deeper pockets recommend shooting at focal lengths from 900mm (for a Nikon DX camera) to 1400mm for an FX (full frame sensor) camera. Longer lenses with good optics are hellishly expense, and someone who weighs whether or not to drop $100 on a filter will clearly balk at a four-figure purchase that will likely get limited use in the future. I even weighed purchasing a Nikkor teleconverter at the time I ordered the solar glasses and filter, but Jefferson on the nickel in my pocket shrieked and clung desperately. Later, when I decided to pull the trigger, none were to be had, all on backorder. So the disk images I would gather would be small.

Thus equipped, we drive to South Carolina. I had hoped to catch Lucid Dreams and Gypsy Mama since we were at least in the same state, but they had relatives visiting and were not available. So we made our way to Fort Mill, SC, near where Contrary's son and family live.

I-85 south was being "improved,"  with traffic restricted to one lane in either direction. We had the opportunity to stand for several hours in this unmoving mess, and as we inched forward, we eventually learned why. Three large SUVs and trucks, all late model, were wedged up against the jersey wall amidst a shower of fiberglass, fenders, torn tires, and broken dreams, an evident case of jockeying for some imaginary advantage due to testosterone poisoning. When we eventually arrived in Fort Mill after the ninth hour of our six hour ride, our hotelier made us welcome with effusive good humor, for which one weary traveler was grateful.

The next day, Contrary's son Adam joined us so the boys could swim in the hotel pool and we could enjoy a civilized cocktail. My original plan, informed only by looking at maps, was to head toward Columbia, nearly dead center in the zone of totality. It dawned on me that I might not be the only person to have that thought, and that the highways might offer a Mad Max traffic scenario. So we determined to head southwest, which would put us more quickly in the zone of totality and might relieve us from some of the crowds. Adam determined that Laurens County in rural SC had a park which might offer a good place to view. A park is important for old people because bathrooms. Also because kids need something to do while waiting. A plan unfolded.

The next day we got there about five hours ahead of the eclipse, and a number of people were already ensconced under tarps and in chairs. We were able to commandeer a picnic table under a large tree, offering shade and proximity to those all-important bathrooms. We unloaded our gear, set up and wait. 

An eclipse is a slow motion phenomenon as the disc of the moon slowly nibbles at the solar orb. I brought the camera out and found myself wrestling with it. One has to point it alost straight up in the air, a position which makes framing problematic. I tried to solve this my using the "live view" (video display) mode on the back of the camera. Viewing an LCD screen in bright sunlight while wearing a white shirt is virtually impossible. So I attempted to re-rig the tripod to shoot in a seated position, a position which worked except for the unfortunate tendency of the tripod to tip backwards towards me at all times. SO I held the tripod in place with one hand, while triggering my remote shutter release with the other. And I made a few images.

One of the things the experts will tell you is the importance of bracketing your exposures. Writing for Nikon, Fred Espenak recommends:

Shoot the mid-day sun at a fixed aperture, (choose an aperture between f/8 and f/16) using every shutter speed from 1/4000 second to 1/30 second. Looking at the exposures, choose the best shutter speed/aperture combination and use them to photograph the partial phases of the solar eclipse. Your camera’s histogram function is an excellent way to evaluate the best exposure. 

And so I did.

Diamond Ring 1 Copyright Impact Photography 2017


Near totality Copyright Impact Photography 2017

Totality 8-21 Copyright Impact Photography 2017

The Laurens County location proved a good choice, but on the drive home as we joined a major northbound highway, traffic looked like the road out of Kuwait after the first Gulf War. Siri took us off the beaten path on some old bootlegger roads and around the press of traffic. Contrary and I were having a celebratory toddy before dinner when her son called. He was ahead of us in traffic, and still stuck. They took another 90 minutes to get home. Had the good sense to engage and listen to our onboard AI.

In the scheme of things, a minor adventure and a successful short trip.

So aside from some decent images, what did it all mean? This tally from Inc.:


Besides the 12 million people who already live in the path of totality, many people were expected to travel to those areas with the best viewing. Estimates in advance of the eclipse were that between 1.8 and 7.4 million people would travel to the eclipse zone. There was concern that this interest would create massive traffic problems.

Overall, the travel industry came out on top as winners. There was a spike in the hotel and other tourism businesses.

Certainly the case for us.


Even if you couldn't make it in person, you were able to view the total eclipse as it made its way across the country. This was due to a live broadcast from NASA. According to their reports, as many as 40 million people tuned in on TV or online to watch the event.

Some estimates had 70 million travelers moving in and out of the zone of totality. It seemed that half of them were on the roads in SC.

Eclipse Glasses

It is estimated 207,000 pairs of these glasses were sold just through their network of Amazon sellers. That would mean almost seven million eclipse glasses were sold just through Amazon alone.

SellerCloud also reported the average selling price for each unit was over $7. However, in the days leading up to the eclipse, the price increased due to demand and product scarcity.

I had the good sense to order several sets of eclipse glasses early, enough for us and our family, plus a supplemental paper set for my employees who would be viewing a partial eclipse back home. Am glad I did. In spite of rumors that some were substandard, ours worked fine. 

Scientific Research

The eclipse was also a great opportunity for scientists. This eclipse was the only chance to view the sun's corona, also known as the outer layer. Thousands of scientists traveled to the eclipse path to photograph the sun during totality. This opportunity required billions of dollars' worth of equipment.

Cameras, telescopes, balloons, and supersonic jets were used to conduct experiments and gather data during the few minutes of total darkness.

This bonanza of data gathered will keep scientists busy for years to come.

Future Eclipses

The next visible eclipse in the U.S. is seven years away. It will occur on April 8, 2024. The path of that eclipse will span Texas to Maine, crossing through the South, Midwest, the Great Lakes, and New England.

There will be even people along its path as it crosses major metropolitan areas, such as Dallas, Cleveland, and Buffalo.

Assuming I'm still alive and able to walk, Contrary and I will be in Buffalo in April for the next one.

In speaking with those who stayed home, there is a profound difference from viewing a total eclipse.  In totality the temperature drops, the disc is totally up obscured, and at long last the corona of the sun is visible as the moon blocks old Sol. Even though it only lasts for two minutes and 40 seconds, it is an experience unlike any other. Animals behave oddly; crickets begin chirping in earnest; odd light phenomena occur, and the horizon is lit as if in sunset, but without sunset colors.

A total eclipse is a bucket list item as as moving as it Is ephemeral. If you have the opportunity in 2024, don't miss it.

banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere, and was active in the Occupy movement. He lives in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. He will have failed if not eventually blocked by Twitler.

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on January 30, 2016

Ansel Adams

Over the next few weeks in the Diner Lens Header Photo, we will honor some of the best photographers to produce images since the invention of photography.  I begin here with one of my favorites, Ansel Adams.  Click the link for a Google sample of AA's photos. -RE

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          A girl pushes a boy on a bicycle past damaged buildings in Jobar, a suburb of Damascus, Syria, Saturday. /Bassam Khabieh/Reuters


       Mohamed Ahmed, an asylum seeker from Sudan, stands inside the bunker he has dug at his home in Yida, South Sudan. When he arrived, Ahmend dug a bunker due to the fear of the bombing he had fled from.Picture: AFP

        A sperm whale lies on the sand after being washed ashore at Skegness beach in Skegness, Britain January 25, 2016. Three dead sperm whales washed up in Skegness on the weekend, local media reported. (REUTERS/Andrew Yates)

     A young migrant pulls a fire extinguisher in a muddy field at a camp of makeshift shelters for migrants and asylum-seekers from Iraq, Kurdistan, Iran and Syria, called the Grande Synthe jungle, near Dunkirk, France, January 25, 2016. A "race to the bottom" on asylum policy among European Union countries is exposing more than 360,000 child migrants to greater risk of harm as the bloc struggles to cope with a surge of refugees, rights watchdogs said on Monday. (REUTERS/Yves Herman)

     A health worker stands in the Sambadrome as he sprays insecticide to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmits the Zika virus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Inspectors begin to spray insecticide around Sambadrome, the outdoor grounds where thousands of dancers and musicians will parade during the city's Feb. 5-10 Carnival celebrations. Brazil's health minister says the country will mobilize some 220,000 troops to battle the mosquito blamed for spreading a virus linked to birth defects. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)


 Posted by Surly:  To understand the sheer scale of the Syrian refugee situation, here's a picture of a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan.

      Ammon Bundy, center, one of the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, arrives for a news conference with supporters at the refuge on Jan. 8. LaVoy Finicum, who died during the arrests of his fellow Oregon occupiers on Jan. 26, carries his granddaughter on his shoulders to the left of Bundy. Rick Bowmer / AP












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Published on the Doomstead Diner on January 16, 2016

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      A frame from a video shows that Edward Archer runs with a gun toward a police car driven by Officer Jesse Hartnett in Philadelphia, Pa. on Jan. 7.


     A Shi'ite Muslim girl holds a picture of Shi'ite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who was executed along with others in Saudi Arabia, as she takes part in a protest rally in Islamabad, Pakistan. FAISAL MAHMOOD / Reuters

      A civil defence member carries a dead child in a site hit by what activists said were airstrikes carried out by the Russian air force in the rebel-controlled area of Maaret al-Numan town in Idlib province, Syria January 9, 2016. At least 70 people died in what activists said where four vacuum bombs dropped by the Russian air force in the town of Maaret al-Numan; other air strikes where also carried out in the towns of Saraqib, Khan Sheikhoun and Maar Dabseh, in Idlib. (REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi)

 Mourners gather around the bodies of four Palestinians during their funeral in the West Bank village of Sae'er, near Hebron. According to the Israeli Army, the Palestinians were killed Friday by Israeli forces while attempting two separate stabbing attacks. ABED AL HASHLAMOUN / EPA

     Members of the FBI stand guard at the Burns Municipal Airport, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, in Burns, Ore. A small, armed group has been occupying a remote national wildlife refuge in Oregon since a week earlier to protest federal land use policies. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

      A protester wearing a mask of missing bookseller Lee Bo stands in a cage during a protest against the disappearances of booksellers in Hong Kong, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. Five men associated with a Hong Kong publisher known for books critical of China's leaders have vanished one by one in the last three months, alarming activists and deepening suspicions that mainland authorities are squeezing free expression in the enclave. The sign in front reads: "Missing men." (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

       A dapper Kim Jong-un, dressed in a winter coat and fedora hat, watches an underwater missile launch purportedly on December 21, 2015. North Korea's "successful" submarine-launched ballistic missile test was, according to South Korea media, an explosive failure that was not even launched from a submarine.Picture: YONHAP/AFP/Getty Images

      A dead sperm whale is seen on a beach on Texel Island, The Netherlands, January 13, 2016. The five sperm whales that beached on the Dutch lsland of Texel on Tuesday have died overnight, Dutch media reported. (REUTERS/Cris Toala Olivares)

      A supporter of anti-immigration right-wing movement PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West) sporting a tattoo reading 'Proud and Free' and the word Nazi struck out, takes part in in demonstration rally in reaction to mass assaults on women on New Year's Eve, in Cologne, Germany. Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on January 9, 2016

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     North Korean leader Kim Jung-un guides the test firing of a rocket in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang. North Korea is "likely" to have conducted a nuclear test on January 6, 2016 that caused an earthquake near a known testing site in the isolated country, the South Korean and Japanese governments said.Picture: REUTERS/KCNA

     Children eat during a non-government organization's feeding program at a slum area in Manila, the Philippines on Jan. 5, 2015. The country's population is expected to hit 104 million in 2016 with some 2 million infants expected to be born this year, according to the Philippine Commission on Population (PopCom). (Rouelle Umali/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire)

     Men walk on the rubble at the Chamber of Trade and Industry headquarters after it was hit by a Saudi-led air strike in Yemen's capital Sanaa January 5, 2016. (REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

      School children cross along a make-shift pedestrian bridge on a drain covered with garbage at a slum in Karachi, Pakistan.
Shakil Adil / AP

     A protester with a wooden stick beats an effigy of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.      Ahn Young-joon / AP

     French police secure the area after a man was shot dead at a police station in the 18th district in Paris, Jan. 7, 2016. Police in Paris on Thursday shot dead a knife-wielding man who tried to enter a police station, police union sources said. The incident took place on the anniversary of last year's deadly Islamist militant attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in the French capital. (REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)

              Aftermath of the Rowlett-Garland Tornado

    Indian police officers wield their batons against Kashmiri Shi'ite Muslims during a protest against the execution of cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who was executed along with others in Saudi Arabia, in Srinagar January 3, 2016. (REUTERS/Stringer)

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on December 19, 2015

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     Residents inspect damage at a site hit by one of three explosive trucks, in the YPG-controlled town of Tel Tamer, Syria December 11, 2015. A spokesman for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said the death toll from a triple truck bomb attack in a town in northeastern Syria on Friday had risen to 50 to 60 people, with more than 80 others wounded. One of the blasts occurred outside a hospital, another at a market and the third in a residential area in the YPG-controlled town of Tel Tamer, Redur Xelil said via Internet messaging service. (REUTERS/Rodi Said)
     French far-right National Front party leader Marine Le Pen exits from a polling booth prior to posting her ballot for the second round of regional elections, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Henin-Beaumont, northern France. Le Pen's far-right party was the frontrunner after last Sundayâs first round, and now it's up to voters whether to hand the once-pariah party an unprecedented political victory. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
     A wounded man is carried to safety after Russian Army aircrafts carried out airstrikes on opposition-controlled Sakba district of eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria.
Anadolu Agency / Getty Images Contributor
       Demonstrators attend a protest calling for the impeachment of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff at Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Picture: REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

      A Kashmiri protester throws stones amid tear gas used by the government forces to disperse them during a protest in Srinagar, India, Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. The protest was held against an intended enforcement of food safety act which will limit the subsidised ration per person in the state to 5 kilos from the present 30 kilos. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)
      Palestinian children cover their faces as they carry toy weapons, during a rally to commemorate the 28th anniversary of the Hamas militant group, at the main road in Gaza City, Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. The Arabic on their headbands reads, "no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger. Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades." (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
      A new protective shelter is being constructed to cover the remains of the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. The new protective shelter is a massive structure which covers nuclear reactor number 4, and is designed to reduce and limit radioactive contamination following the 1986 disaster at the site. December 14, 2015 marks the 15th anniversary of the beginning of the decommissioning of the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl.

      Robert Velasco, father of Yvette Velasco, consoles a family member during Yvette's funeral service at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, in Covina, Calif.     Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on December 12, 2015

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 Victims of the San Bernardino shooting rampage  Courtesy of family / Los Angeles Times

                               An Egyptian forensic member checks the gate of the nightclub which was attacked in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. More than a dozen were killed and wounded, Egypt's state-run news agency reported. MENA quoted an unnamed security official as saying three men on a motorcycle threw Molotov cocktails into the club in the Agouza district and then fled. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

            A boy wades next to a partially submerged bus in a flooded locality in Chennai, India, Saturday. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 8 to 10 feet of water. Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters
  Residents wash clothes recovered from their flood damaged houses on the banks of the Adyar River in Chennai, India, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015. Indian authorities were investigating possible negligence after 18 hospital patients died when rainwaters from massive floods in southern Tamil Nadu state knocked out generators and switched off ventilators.The worst flooding in a century in Tamil Nadu has left scores of people dead since November.(AP Photo/Arun Sankar K)

 More heavy rain is expected to hit parts of northern England and Scotland this week as work continues to repair flood damage caused by record rainfall levels in the area.

                Civilians photographed in a damaged building in Syria's northern city of Aleppo following a reported air strike by government forces on December 7. Syria's nearly five-year war has left more than 250,000 dead and forced some 12 million people from their homes.  NBC news

  A U.S. Border Patrol agent leads undocumented immigrants through the brush after capturing them near the U.S.-Mexico border, Dec. 7, 2015. John Moore / Getty Images

 Hundreds of environmentalists arrange their bodies to form a message of hope and peace in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, December 6, 2015, as the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) continues at Le Bourget near the French capital. (REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on December 5, 2015

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            A man wears a protective face mask as he passes by the CCTV building on a day of heavy pollution on November 30, 2015 in Beijing. China's capital and many cities in the northern part of the country recorded the worst smog of the year with air quality devices in some areas unable to read such high levels of pollutants.                   Kevin Frayer / Getty Images    
      Migrants contend with wintery conditions in the camp known as the 'New Jungle' on December 1, 2015 in Calais, France. Thousands of migrants continue to live in the makeshift camp in the port town in northern France, where they continue to try and board vehicles heading for ferries or through the tunnel in an attempt to reach Britain. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

     A couple embraces following a shooting rampage that killed at least 14 people and wounded others at Inland Regional Center, a facility for people with developmental disabilities, in San Bernardino, California, on Dec. 2, 2015.                       Avid Bauman / Orange County Register via Zuma Press

     People travel on a boat as they move to safer ground on a flooded road in Chennai, India, Wednesday. The heaviest rainfall in more than a century caused massive flooding across the state of Tamil Nadu, driving thousands from their homes, shutting auto factories and paralyzing the airport. Reuters

     A Macedonian police officer hits a stranded migrant attempting to cross the border from Greece into Macedonia. Alexandros Avramidis / Reuters

     A demonstrator is arrested by the riot police during the forbidden COP21 demonstration on November 29, 2015 in Paris, France. The demonstration was banned after the Paris terror attacks on Friday, November 13th. Nevertheless, thousands of people gathered to protest against global warming ahead of COP21 and an estimated 100 people were arrested after fighting with police. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

     Demonstrators confront police officers during a protest in Chicago Friday night in reaction to the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald. McDonald, 17, was fatally shot by Jason Van Dyke, a Chicago police officer, in October 2014. Andrew Nelles/Reuters

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on November 28, 2015

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Migrants demonstrate as they wait to cross the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni, Greece November 21, 2015. (REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis)

   In this photo taken on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, a Myanmar 11-year-old child laborer carries soil as he works at a brick factory in Mandalay, Myanmar. Brick makers earn 3500 Kyat (about $3) per day as markets call for more demands for sake of the expanding city structure. (AP Photo/Hkun Lat)

        Internally displaced girls warm up by a stove after their family left their village in the Achin district of Afghanistan, due to clashes between the Islamic State group and other insurgent groups, on the outskirts of Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015. (AP Photos/Mohammad Anwar Danishyar)

                                       Fascists and extreme far right wing supporters rise their right arm saluting the fascist anthem as they remember former Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco on the 40th anniversary of his death, in Madrid, Spain, Sunday. Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP

    An Israeli soldier reacts at the scene where a Palestinian stabbed and killed an Israeli soldier Monday at a petrol station near the West Bank village of Khirbit Al-Misbah, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, before he was shot dead by soldiers. Ammar Awad/Reuters

     Volunteers assist refugees from a dinghy after they crossed from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos. Santi Palacios / AP


        Children pass a police officer as they arrive for school in the center of Brussels on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on November 21, 2015

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      Belgium special force officers prepare to enter a house in Brussels, on Nov. 16. During the weekend searches were carried out and multiple people were arrested in relation to the Nov. 13 attacks which have been blamed in part on Belgian Islamist networks. Dirk Waem / AFP – Getty Images

     Families wait in line to receive cash provided by UNICEF in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday. Thousands of Yemeni female caretakers in Sanaa receive humanitarian cash as part of UNICEF's support to assist the poorest and most vulnerable households. Hani Mohammed/AP

     Turkish riot police detain a leftist demonstrator during an anti-G20 protest in Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. The 2015 G-20 Leaders Summit will be held near the Turkish Mediterranean coastal city of Antalya on Nov. 15-16, 2015. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

     Abdelhamid Abaaoud, reported to be the mastermind behind the Paris attacks
Picture: Warren Allott/The Telegraph

    Palestinians look at a house that was demolished by the Israeli army, in the Qalandia refugee camp on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah. Two Palestinians were killed and three wounded in clashes with Israeli troops in a Palestinian refugee camp in the Jerusalem area, a Palestinian health official said. The Israeli military said its troops entered Qalandia to demolish the home of a Palestinian who it says shot and killed an Israeli motorist in the West Bank this summer.
Picture: AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed

     A Syrian girl licks a lollipop after her arrival on a small boat from the Turkish coast on the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos. Greek authorities said 1,244 refugees and economic migrants have been rescued from frail craft in danger over the past three days in the Aegean Sea, as thousands continue to arrive on the Greek islands.                                                                               Santi Palacios / AP

    Cuban migrants sleep on the floor at a border post with Nicaragua in Penas Blancas, Costa Rica. Nicaragua on Sunday closed its border with Costa Rica to hundreds of Cubans headed for the United States, stoking diplomatic tensions over a growing wave of migrants making the journey north from the Communist-ruled island. Juan Carlos Ulate / Reuters

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on November 14, 2015

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                                   Polish photographer Arkadiusz Podniesinski travelled to the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster last month to see the location with his own eyes
                                   “It is not earthquakes or tsunami that are to blame for the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, but humans,” writes Podniesinski on his website. He undertook the project so that he could draw his “own conclusions without being influenced by any media sensation, government propaganda, or nuclear lobbyists who are trying to play down the effects of the disaster, and pass on the information obtained to as wider a public as possible.”

                                     Members of the black student protest group Concerned Student 1950 hold hands following the announcement of Wolfe’s resignation. Jeff Roberson / AP

     French special forces evacuate people, including an injured man holding his head, as people gather near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal shootings in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015.                                                                                               Photo by Christian Hartmann/Reuters

   Victims’ covered bodies lie outside a restaurant following a shooting in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015.         

     A man lies on the ground as French police check his identity near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal shootings in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015. The man was later released after his identity was verified.               Photo by Philippe Wojazer/Reuters       

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on November 7, 2015

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A picture taken on Oct. 30, 2015 shows the passports of members of a family who drowned after the boat transporting them sank, on a Lesbos beach. From the start of the year until Oct. 29, at least 435 people have drowned trying to reach Greece, according to data from the International Organization of Migration. AFP / Getty

Bleaching of the Great Barrief Reef, 2002 and 2014

1930s and 2005: Alaskan Pedersen Glacier
As the USGS’ documentation shows, the receding of glaciers in the continental US and in Alaska are drastic. The receding of glaciers began to accelerate to an even greater rate in the 1980s, when the effects of global warming began to take hold

photo appearing in Diner Agelberts Newz Column

Ethnic Madhesi protesters demonstrating against the new constitution throw stones and bricks at Nepalese policemen in Birgunj, Nepal, Monday. Jiyalal Sah/AP

The body of a young unidentified boy is covered with plastic sheeting after washing up on the shoreline at the village of Skala, on the Greek island of Lesbos, on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Authorities recovered more bodies on Lesbos and the Greek island of Samos Sunday as thousands continue to cross from the nearby coast of Turkey despite worsening weather. Greece is pressing the European Union for additional support for their massive daily search and rescue operations. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)

A mannequin, left, holding a knife and wearing a jacket that reads: "Stab!" is seen outside a clothes shop in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip. In Gaza, a clothing store called "Hitler 2" has mannequins posed outside holding knives and dressed in T-shirts with "Stab!" written across the chests. Picture was taken Nov. 3. Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters

















































The Diner Lens: 2015 Issue 1

Photographergc2reddit-logoEdited by Golden Oxen

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on October 31, 2015

Discuss these Pictures at the Art & Photography Table inside the Diner

With this issue, we begin a new Feature here on the Doomstead Diner, The Diner Lens TM.  Diners have a long tradition of collecting images from around the net depicting the ongong Collapse of Industrial Civiliation in the Diner Art & Photography Forum.

We also include many graphics and videos with our Blogs, but The Diner Lens TM will be dedicated solely to photos (with captions), and the images will speak for themselves.  Credit will be given to the photographer when we can find the credit.

Photography Editor for The Diner Lens is Golden Oxen, moderator of the Diner Art & Photography Forum.


Now, this Week's Top 5 Doom Pics!

Refugees and migrants arrive aboard the passenger ferry Blue Star Patmos from the island of Lesbos at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Greece, Oct. 29, 2015. More than half a million migrants have transited through Greece so far this year, many fleeing Syria's civil war on a short but perilous crossing from Turkey on inflatable rubber boats. (REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis)

Refugees and migrants sit atop a heavily-listing small vessel as they try to travel from the Turkish coast to Skala Sykaminias on the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos on Friday, Oct. 30, 2015. Authorities in Greece say 21 people have died in other islands after two boats carrying migrants and refugees from Turkey to Greece sank overnight, in the latest deadly incidents in the eastern Aegean Sea. (AP Photo/Kostis Ntantamis)

Paramedics evacuate a wounded Palestinian attacker in Jerusalem on Friday, Oct. 30, 2015. The Palestinian stabbed and seriously wounded a man at a station of Jerusalem's light rail Friday before he was shot and wounded by Israeli forces, police said. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

A car washed up against a tree in Cyprus Creek, a tributary of the Blanco River, in Wimberley, Texas, on Oct. 30. More than 200 low-water crossings were closed due to the storm, which hit in the same area where flooding in late May caused more than 20 deaths. Illana Panich-Linsman / Reuters

A girl cries as hundreds of migrants wait to cross to Austria, in Sentilj, Slovenia. Darko Bandic / AP

Signature of Collapse: End of the Glory Days

Off the keyboard of RE
Featuring the Photography of Johnny Joo

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on December 28, 2014

Discuss this article at the History Table inside the Diner events and changes occur slowly over the period of a human lifespan, you often don’t notice them occuring while they are happening, it is only when you look back in retrospect that you can see the changes that have occurred.

A typical example is the growth of a child.  If you put the child up against a doorjamb to mark the day’s growth, you won’t see any difference.  However, if you do it once every 3 months during a growth spurt, the changes in the interim are easily measured.

Similarly, as you age, each day you look in the mirror to shave, you don’t look a whole lot different than you did the day before, but when you go look at a picture of yourself in one of your sister’s photo albums, it becomes shockingly clear how much you have aged.

The spirit of this is reflected in the song “Sunrise, Sunset” from “A Fiddler on the Roof”

Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?

I don’t remember growing older
When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?

Wasn’t it yesterday
When they were small?

As we walk around, or in many cases in the 1st World drive around, it’s not usually apparent that today is so much different than yesterday, it’s only when you look back in retrospect to what things were like a few decades ago versus how they are now that you become shockingly aware of how far down we have already come on the Collapse Highway.

Some people don’t notice it at all, in fact I think most people willfully shut out seeing decay, and also of course so much of the decay is inside the great cities of yesteryear, places like Detroit and Cleveland, so the only people who usually witness that daily are the few impoverished people that still live there.

A few days ago however, I ran into the video at the top of the page chronicling the decay of the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit.!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_970/silverdome22n-12-web.jpg

This is what the Pontiac Silverdome looks like today, in 2014

At the beginning of the video though are some clips from the Silverdome, vintage 1980s or so.  That’s pretty much how I remember the Silverdome, since in those years I still followed dumb ass sports like NFL Football, and watched the Detroit Lions play the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day.  In those days, the Silverdome looked more like this:

In the space of a mere 30 years, the Blink of an Eye really in Civilization terms, this behemoth of a Stadium, which took $Millions$ to build now is just a decaying wreck in a decaying city that doesn’t even have the resources around to demolish it.

Following the links from the You Tube page led me to find the rest of the work of the photographer who made that video, Johnny Joo.  Johnny has a website Architectural Afterlife with many more links to his portfolios and albums, dropped around in repositories on the net.  Many of the images are absolutely stunning, and when you view all of them together, you begin to get a much more visceral understanding of the Collapse going on all around us, as we speak.

Although Detroit is of course the Poster Child for collapse, you can find it almost everywhere if you don’t shut your eyes to it.  Johnny Joo doesn’t shut his eyes, instead he opens the Camera Lens.

Once Upon a Time, people lived in this house…

Once Upon a Time, people worked in this Factory

Once Upon a Time, people watched Movies here

Once Upon a Time, children learned to read and write here

There are none so Blind as those who will not See
-Little Donnie Dark, “Butterflies are Free”

Many if not most people do not see the decay surrounding them, and they will point to all the Great Advances we have made to demonstrate the continuing and to their eyes unstoppable Progress forward of Industrial Civilization.  The Carz, the I-phones, the BRAND NEW Cities being built in China, soon to be the next Empire/Superpower to rule the world.

Sadly of course for the Chinese, they showed up a Day Late and a Yuan Short to the great Industrial Keg Party, and the Beer has about Run Out now.  The cities they are building will never even get the chance to experience the Glory Days of a Detroit or Cleveland.

Frank J. Hecker Mansion. Frank made his fortune building Railroad Cars in the late 1800s

That is one of the few that have been preserved here, a more typical example is the Ransom Gills House, built in 1878.  Despite some refurbishment to the exterior, no buyer has been found.

For the brand new cities in China, they are ALREADY Ghost Cities, and there will be no Glory Days for them.

What reflects whether a civilization is growing or declining is not so much what new stuff is being built, but what is happening to the old stuff? you have plenty of resources around, you don’t let old structures decay, you Demolish them and build new ones, or you Refurbish them.  It’s the fact that we are leaving behind here a long trail of abandoned and decaying structures that is the Signature of a Collapsing Civilization.

For a long time, really going back as far as the Toba Cataclysm 75,000 years ago, there has always been somewhere new to GO, and more energy to exploit along the way as well, building new cities, rebuilding some old ones, keeping up the maintenance on the infrastructure as it were.

What is evident now however is first that we are fresh OUT of new places to Pave Over to Put Up a Parking Lot, the Asphalt is too expensive to Pave with, the population cannot afford to drive to the Parking Lot, and Sears, JC Penney, Radio Shack and numerous other retailers are all set to go straight Outta Biz here, leaving a whole lot of Empty Strip Malls for Johnny Joo to photograph in the future.

Johnny Joo discusses the history behind his Photography

You will find the Photographs of Johnny Joo featured on the Photographs page of the Diner regularly.  His newest book will be available soon at  Buy it.

The Creative Energy of Mother Nature

Off the keyboard of Gypsy Mama

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Published on The Butterchurn on December 6, 2013


Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Table inside the Diner

Throughout my life, my creative energy has been a force I’ve had to learn to hold back.  I constantly feel the need to create.  I was once asked, “What is the one thing you have to do on a regular basis to avoid losing your mind?”  My answer?  “Create something.”  That is the truth.  I have an overpowering need to create.

My husband and I are in a sort of ballistic space in which we are free to do just that:  create.  Our youngest son, Harper, has finally battled through colic.  My husband has decided to stay at home and chase his dream: “Ecological design”.  It is up to our combined efforts to try to pay our bills without either one of us having a “real” job.  We’re diving in head first.

I have crafting material that could probably stretch all the way back to our Rock Hill house.  Crafties for eons.  I’ve finally been handed the opportunity to make all sorts of things, and these things are erupting like fire. Recently, I made three baby bibs and a pair of infant shoes for a baby shower that I’ll be attending tomorrow afternoon.  Next, I plan to make my own baby carrier for Harper.  Fabrics are scattered all over our office, just waiting for me to get my hands on them.  I can’t contain my excitement.  Life is good!

This afternoon I had a graduation photo shoot scheduled at a local college.  I arrived early to scout out locations on the campus.  I rarely have photo shoots these days, so I decided that I’d “warm up” with a few nature shots.  The creative bug struck me.  I could not stop photographing the beauty around me.  Finally… photography had returned to the release it had been years ago, before I started up my business in 2003.  I was overwhelmed by the landscape around me.

The photo shoot was cancelled due to rain, but I was able to capture these images today instead.

Raw.  Unedited.  Straight out of camera.  Filled with life, love and respect for Mother Nature’s abundant beauty.

































Most of these images, as you can see, were taken of evergreens.  I think I have a touch of the Christmas spirit after this shoot :)

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