Saturday, August 22, 2009

Shanghai...The Solar Eclipse

The night we arrived in Shanghai we were treated to an awesome lightning show. I took the image above from the balcony of my hotel suite the eve of the Total Solar Eclipse, with a grim weather forecast for eclipse day my thought was if I wasn't going to be imaging the eclipse, I might as well get some lightning shots.

Didn't get much sleep, up at 4:00 am organizing my equipment, then at t-90 minutes and counting to the eclipse I ventured out to find a spot I would be viewing it from. The tour organizers had paid extra for us to have a place on the hotel terrace to view the event, but after I walked along the China Sea beach that morning, I knew this was the place for me, ended up being a great decision.


Met all kinds of people from different countries, was filmed by a Beijing TV crew and saw lots of ghost like Junk ships on the China Sea , they seemed to disappear then reappear from behind pockets of mist and smog, very creepy cool , and the people,

People in awe,

Amazed people,

Cheering people.

Just before the eclipse started the clouds broke a little, enough so that we were able to view a partial eclipse, everybody cheered.






Our tour guide was kind enough to let me use his phone, I regularly called updates of the event into the CNN live crew. A CNN producer read my blog about me getting my first passport just to go see the eclipse in China. She emailed me and asked if I wanted to do an interview as well as do regular call ins to update CNN of the progress of the eclipse in Shanghai, I said sure, who wouldn't,very cool.




Saw it get dark,

Darker,

Darkest......... all within a matter of minutes. So let me sum this up for you. I am in Shanghai on the China Sea beach, watching ghostly Junks float by, with people all around me watching my every move, on the phone with a producer from CNN giving her live updates on the Solar Eclipse I was viewing and imaging, oh and earlier was filmed by a Beijing TV crew for their nightly news... I remember thinking at the time that even my dreams don't get this good.

Just after totality it started to rain and some friends from my tour group helped me carry my equipment to the hotel, it was over , at least for us in Shanghai, an experience I will never forget and even to this day can't believe I was actually a part of.

The next day we visited the Old Shanghai Astronomical Observatory.




Our last major event on the tour was a visit to the 88th floor, the observation deck of the Jin Mao Tower, what a view of Shanghai,









All good things must come to an end but the memories and experiences I have gathered will never fade away, I took more then 1200 images and 6 hours of video to make sure they don't. Taking this trip to China was so not like me, being a claustrophobic fear of flying introvert, just goes to show you that fears can be conquered....... with the want and a lot of willpower.

I even learned a few words in Chinese, one phrase I remember is "Xie xie" pronounced "Sheh sheh" in English, means "Thank you", I use it when ever I buy Chinese food now, whenever I use the phrase the surprised look I get from the person behind the counter, and then they started talking back to me in Chinese, then I explained I don't know any other words, they look confused, I explain about my trip, they smile and I really got to stop doing that, but it is fun.

I look back on this adventure with fond memories, the kindness of the Chinese people, their vast and rich history, seeing the great Wall for the first time from a plane, touching and smelling the clay that the Terra-Cotta army was made from, all something one doesn't soon forget.


I'll leave you with a video I took from the observation floor of the Jin Mao Tower. Note that at 1:20 into the video I cut in a Mission Impossible III scene, in the bottom of the four tower images I took above, the tall round building and the slanted roof building next to it are involved.

video

58 comments:

Drowsey Monkey said...

Way cool! I love that first photo - it's spectacular!

What a great adventure!

Swubird said...

Bob:

Such a cool series of posts. Really something. Plus, you're becoming quite the celebrity. Before long I'll be seeing you on the science channel. Bob this and Bob that. Wait, we're waiting for a call from our man in the field right now---Bob. LOL. Live it up. You deserve it.

I loved the lightning shot. Absolutely fantastic.

Happy trails.

Buggys said...

Fabulous pics! What a very surreal experience you had.

PJ said...

very awesome series of posts! i totally got goosebumps from reading them. your commentary of your experiences was great! thank you for sharing this wonderful adventure with us!

Genie said...

Bob, that lightning photo is amazing. I immediately Stumbled it before reading the rest of your post.

Yea!!! You got some eclipse photos and had the most amazing experience!!!

I finally have my passport. Couldn't stand it any longer--want to be able to go if the opportunity presents itself.

You're amazing, as always.

Bob Johnson said...

Hey thanks Drowsey, the lightning shot is one on my fav all time shots, right place at the right time.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol swubird, I think my 15 minutes of fame is all used up now was fun well it lasted.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks a lot Buggys and thanks a lot for dropping by.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks PJ for liking the adventure and letting me indulge with these long posts, I find the blog was a great way to document the adventure.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Genie for stumbling the lightning, it was one of my best if not my best shot of lightning to date. Great you got your passport, now you are ready if the need arises, I want to go to Egypt next time.\m/\m/

Emm said...

Wow! That is amazing!!! Excellent photos. I guess it is good that it was cloudy. When it is not cloudy the brightness is too much for the naked eye to take.

So did I understand correctly - you went to China just to see the eclipse??

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Emm, The total eclipse made it a no brainer for me to go, but I always wanted to travel to China, so much history and stuff to see.\m/\m/

Moonshadow said...

Another great post, Bob. But where's the promised video with the Mission Impossible cut?

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Moonshadow,I just checked, IE won't show the video for some reason, I use firefox or google chrome.\m/\m/

John Maslowski said...

Stunning images Bob. Really like the lighting photo and the fascinating architectural images. You always manage to capture each scene in a unique and creative way. Outstanding and interesting series.

Ruth said...

I agree, such wonderful photos, especially that first one, wow.

I just feel so happy and proud of your experience, especially knowing how you feel about flying ("felt" about flying?). Those faces around you say it all, and the pics of the actual eclipse are fascinating.

Yay!!!

Priyank said...

Oh the climax post finally! Bob it was a very unique and awesome experience you had - going to China and watching the eclipse. Who does that! So, during an eclipse a monster gobbles up the sun right? LOL.

Bob Johnson said...

Hey John thanks a lot and thanks for dropping by.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Ruth, about the flying, it was probably my biggest accomplishment getting over the fear, like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol Priyank, thanks for dropping by, I have a greater appreciation of your travels now, especially since you do them without tour guides.\m/\m/

Anne Vis said...

Wow, you're a celebrity now ... :-)What a great story and what a fantastic series of shots! Just awesome!!!

kml said...

I don't know which photo I like the best - but that lightning in the cloud is gorgeous!

What an experience - and a CNN correspondent to top it off!

Great post, Bob!

AngelBaby said...

Sooooo Coool! I am so glad you took this trip, I hope you do something like this again. Yes, we can overcome our fear and learn to enjoy the things that scare us the most. It is a wonderful thing to do. Remember life is just one great adventure so enjoy it! I am so proud of you my dear friend!

Have a marvelous day!

Love and Blessings,
AngelBaby

Marvin the Martian said...

Very cool Bob!

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Anne, lol,was is the key word, was fun while it lasted.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Kathy, the lightning reminded me of their bonsai trees, which I saw a lot of over there, kind of an upside down lightning.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks a lot AngelBaby, I'd like to go on another eclipse chase, or for sure one day go to Egypt.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Marvin!\m/\m/

koe whitton-williams said...

fantastic posting - just amazing. You will remember that trip forever. . .

kRiZ cPEc said...

reading this post, I guess you might one day revisit China. :)

Dr. Lauren said...

Wow, I'm so sorry I missed this, but your pictures made up for it. Love the video by the way, the Mission Impossible scene is quite fitting. What an amazing trip and I can't believe you were corresponding with CNN. Lucky You!

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks for dropping by Koe, yes It is something I will never forget.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

For sure kRiZ, I would like to go back some day.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Dr. Lauren, CNN was quite the experience, I got an open invitation to do more work with them my next eclipse, and I want to go again to see another, maybe in a few years.\m/\m/

TatianaV said...

Thanks Bob for a great travel story and the awesome captures with it ;) And I would love to visit China and Hong Kong too some day...

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

What a MAGNIFICENT post, Bob!!!

It was as if we were there with you. SUPER images and love that you were on Beijing TV too!!!

Off to Tweet this. :D

Nancy J Locke

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Tatiana, I like to go to Hong Kong someday as well

Bob Johnson said...

That's tweet of you JJ,lol, thanks a lot.\m/\m/

Stephanie B said...

I LOVED the lightning shot. Just sayin'. Storm shots are some of my favorite.

Speedcat Hollydale said...

I have seen you post some pretty great stuff .... this one is remarkable.

WOW !!!!!!!!!!

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Stephanie, mine too.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hey thanks Speedy.\m/\m/

Will said...

On the phone with CNN, on Beijing TV?? Now don't go getting all celebrityish on us Bob! ;-)

That photo of the lightning is really something. I Stumbled it also. You really had a wonderful trip!

notedscholar said...

I'll tell you what, your photoshop skills never cease to amaze me, Robert. Those Koreans are as life-like as ever! What software do you use?

NS

Astro-Nuts said...

Being a photographer, you can be your own paparazzi Bob. The CNN thing is definitely an exciting opportunity. Wish there was an eclipse closer than the one next year. Oh well, maybe Seattle in a few years. Good stuff as always.

Bob Johnson said...

Had a great time Will, hard to get back to the same old routine.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, NS, well my skills can't be all that good since there suppose to look Chinese.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks and good point Colin, take celebrity pics of myself,lol. I know, I don't think I'll be able to wait til 2017 for the one in the States.\m/\m/

Peter said...

Hi Bob! Just got through on my third attempt which, although exciting, is not as exciting as this post.

I was hoping to see you on the video doing a Tom Cruise impersonation!

Now, is one of your text messages hurtling through space to meet up with "Gliese 581d" in twenty years time?

Take Care,
Peter

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, thanks Peter glad you got through. No I didn't send a message but it is an awesome idea.\m/\m/

Anna said...

Hey Bob looks like your first trip out of the country was like a dream coming true. And so now you are CNN insider, lol....great job, I think you are natural magnet if comes to people, lol....they just keep coming after you :). Bob thanks again for sharing your stories, just amazing experience for us to listen to. Anna :)

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Anna, and speaking of magnets, I got a trio of Haibao fridge magnets coming from China,lol.\m/\m/

Max Coutinho said...

Hey Bob :D!

Gorgeous eclipse photos!!
The pics you took from the people in awe were also fantastic: you captured their spirit very well :D!

I hope all is well with you, man: I noticed that you didn't post this week!

Have a great week!

Cheers

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dezmembrari masini said...

I saw this eclipse. I was there and i am glad of it.

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I was there and i am glad of it. I saw this eclipse. Thesis AND Dissertation AND Essay AND Assignment
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