Eerie sight -Thousands of crescents

Eerie sight-thousands of crescents! This photograph was  taken by me on 16th February 1980, in Bangalore, during the solar eclipse which occurred on that day.

I used a Sunflex twin lens reflex camera and black-and-white film to snap this picture. I do not remember the aperture and speed settings of the camera but I believe the film was 125 ASA (that was the only film easily available those days).

A near-total solar eclipse was a phenomenon we had never witnessed before and people preferred to remain indoors. Those of us who dared to come out were very careful not to look up at the sun.
I had set up a mirror in the garden outside my house to reflect the sun’s image onto a wall inside and we had a live relay of the eclipse!

 As I came out to adjust the mirror, I saw a strange and eerie sight on the ground. Sunlight filtering through the gaps between the leaves of a gooseberry tree fell on the ground and appeared as thousands of crescents. The eclipse had created a phenomenon wherein every gap between the leaves of the tree became a pinhole camera that showed the image of the partly-eclipsed sun on the ground. It was a strange and wondrous sight and one not seen commonly.

Luckily I had my camera loaded and ready and could capture this image (the shadow of my head is also seen in the foreground) for posterity!

Photo and Text by Shiva Kumar, Kalyan Nagar, Bangalore – 560 043.
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