I'm back on a rig, for a different bunch to the previous people in Tanzania (who are continuing with their programme there).
This time I'm on the West coast of Africa. Several tens of miles off the coast, actually. This map shows (approximately) where. The boats are not exactly un-obvious, but there's no point in making the pirate's lives any the easier.
Today, in between doing things in the office, we've had a bit of post-prandial (after eating, for those who don't speak "Classics") excitement trying to follow a partial solar eclipse. We're actually several hundred miles from the totality region (which made landfall in Gabon, between Port Gentil and Libreville), so we only got a partial eclipse, but it was still pretty damned good.
Unfortunately, I'd not done my homework, and so hadn't brought decent filtering equipment for solar photography with me. Mea culpa. So I had to bash together a filter to protect (one) eye, and the sensor of my camera. Sometimes the warnings about "eclipse eye safety" are a bit overblown, but it is true that you can hurt yourself, so a reasonable degree of precaution is sensible. (And apply rule #1 : if it hurts, stop doing it!)
So ... what had I got? The black rubbish bin liners on the rig ... are too opaque and the plastic is loaded with biodegradable starch grains, so they're no use as filters. (Pure plastic sheeting, if thin enough, can do a reasonable job, and you can stack layers to adjust the dimming. It's a bodge, and only a poor substitute for a proper filter. As you'll see.)
Then I realised that I'd got a pair of those cardboard "spectacles" for viewing "3d pictures" with.
So, results :
The netting around the helideck is obvious, and those blobs of cloud promise considerable dimming of the light as they pass across the Solar disc.
My next attempt to handle the overexposure : prop myself up against a convenient piece of metalwork, and zoom the telephoto lens to it's maximum. (It is left as an exercise for the reader to realise why I didn't bother trying to use the additional "digital zoom" in the camera.) It didn't really help much. The cloud probably helped more.
The moral of this story : carry your bloody filters! I'm there in a technical sense, just. But, to be honest, the photos are crap.
So what else can I do? Wait for cloud. Take some photos of our little flotilla out here.Look to see if we can see the shadow bands of the totality away to the south.
And the cloud is dialling the exposure down.
I processed this image (offline ; you don't have time to do this in the real world. You do your exposure calculations in your head.) in exactly the same way as the previous one (contrast up by 127 bits ; brightness down by 126 bits) and even the eye of faith isn't needed, because there's clear evidence of the wolf Fenrir attacking the Sun.
Not the best photography in the world, but not too shabby for stuff scrabbled together at the last moment.