Saturday, 18 April 2015


There is something very powerful about watching a solar eclipse. Even when you just see the moon moving across the disk of the sun on a pinhole camera or projected onto a sheet of paper, it is a striking experience. You begin to understand why ancient civilisations were so shaken by them. So going out to watch the solar eclipse was definitely worth the early weekend start.

My very rudimentary pinhole camera
Thankfully our eclipse wasn't a portent of doom. The thing that I found most striking was the light. Colours became progressively more opalescent as the sun was covered, until the sky turned from blue to dove grey. And as the sky brightened again, anything with red shades started to glow. It made for some of the most unexpected photography I've done,

It wasn't only people reacting to the eclipse. When the sky was at its darkest, the birdsong changed. It had been getting slowly louder, perhaps because the birds were reacting to the light levels and were starting a very early dusk chorus. But with the sun almost covered, they went so quiet it was eerie. I hadn't really realised how loud they were until they stopped.

As the light started to come back into the sky, the birds started singing again, much louder than before, It felt almost as if they were celebrating the return of the sunlight, getting more and more active as time went on. I'd never really considered how garden birds respond to sunlight before, other than in an abstract kind of way when a blackbird singing outside my window at 4am wakes me up. But their response to the light fading and strengthening was incredibly pronounced.

It's easy with something like this to anthropomorphise, and to project my own sensation of everything holding it's breath onto the wildlife. But it certainly did have an impact on the birds. And on me, too. For the rest of the day colours seemed unnaturally bright. And after that strange minute without birdsong, I've been far more aware of it surrounding me.

Did you go out to watch the eclipse?

Alexandra xx

1 comment:

  1. We went out to see it too, but it was quite cloudy so didn't see much :( Though the brightness did change slightly and I still noticed the odd eerie silence! Quite cool actually.