When I was in grade school, I experienced my first solar eclipse. We were told it was a total solar eclipse. Still, we either weren’t in the path of totality, or the instructor couldn’t be bothered to explain (or didn’t know) the different types of solar eclipses. I remember looking at the ground, where we could see pinholes of light slowly becoming crescent-shaped. But since I don’t have a clear memory of looking at the sun directly (with or without glasses), I have to assume it was a partial eclipse.

This week, I definitely saw a total solar eclipse. Since our house was a few blocks from the centerline of totality, we opted to view it from our backyard. I set up a webcam from my home office in hopes I could capture a timelapse. Unfortunately, the angle wasn’t quite right, and I only captured the average change in light.

We had purchased solar glasses and some filters for our phones. While the former was required for viewing, the latter didn’t help us get great pictures.

This picture was one of my favorites. It was taken before the start of the eclipse, but the clouds, the filter, and the lens flair had a great effect.

The sun shines brightly above a roofline with a chimney and vent pipe in the foreground, casting a sharp silhouette against a sky scattered with wispy clouds and crossed by contrails. The light diffuses softly through the high clouds, creating a halo effect around the sun, and a subtle lens flare is visible. The photo conveys the calm before the spectacle of a total solar eclipse.

This picture, I believe, was taken right around the first contact. Not only was the sky getting noticeably darker, but the temperature drop was also noticeable. The temperature dropped at least 10 degrees from the start of the eclipse to totality.

A serene pre-eclipse sky is captured, with the sun's glare softened by thin clouds, slightly dimmed as it approaches the first contact of the total solar eclipse. The rooftop and a chimney in the foreground are silhouetted against the fading light, evoking a tranquil suburban setting. The ambient light has a cooler tone, hinting at the temperature drop associated with the eclipse's progression.

It was challenging to get a stable, in-focus shot. I must have moved for this one. Since this would have been right around the time of totality, I was probably removing the solar filters. But, the result looked like the sun was wearing sunglasses.

A striking image captured during the total solar eclipse shows an ethereal celestial phenomenon resembling a pair of sunglasses against the azure sky. The sun's corona peeks out around the moon's silhouette, with the uneven exposure creating the illusion of bright, glowing lenses. This unintentional effect adds a playful twist to the majestic solar event.

Then we had totality. I wanted to get a picture like the ones I’ve seen before. But, after experiencing the event, those pictures don’t fully capture the feeling. I did get a picture with Venus in the frame.

In this captivating photo, the moment of totality during the solar eclipse is immortalized, where the moon entirely covers the sun, leaving only the glowing corona visible. The surrounding sky is a dusky shade, transitioning from day to night. Venus appears as a bright dot in the lower right, witnessing the rare cosmic dance. A few wispy clouds and a subtle gradient of light add depth to the scene, reminding viewers of the eclipse's awe-inspiring, yet fleeting nature.

I noticed our neighbor’s dog behaving a bit weirdly. I also saw the birds beginning to roost. I was still trying to observe my surroundings when I became distracted by the sounds of nearby fireworks.

The totality was like spending an eternity in a single moment. But, as quickly as that moment came, the moon continued along its path.

The sun's brilliance begins to reappear as the total eclipse wanes, with a flare of light peeking from the top edge of the darkened moon, set against a luminous corona and a grey-blue sky
The eclipse recedes further as a bright crescent forms on the top right side of the moon, the sun’s corona still visible but dimming, against a background gradually shifting from the surreal eclipse darkness to daylight.
Daylight strengthens in this final stage of the eclipse, with the sun reclaiming the sky; a thickened crescent of light now dominates the upper right, diluting the darkness of the moon's passing shadow.

I’m glad the events aligned for what may be a once-in-a-lifetime event.