Solar Eclipse 2017 From Sparta, TN

The August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse as photographed from Sparta, TN (35.9727° N, 85.5638° W).   This was about 3.2 miles from the center of Totality!  These images do not convey the magnitude of the experience.  Knowing what to expect in general does not prepare you.  If I tried to find a single word to describe it, I would pick astonishing.


Location Sparta, TN (35.9725° N, 85.5638° W)
Duration of Totality 2m38.8s
Magnitude 1.014
Obscuration 100.00%
Event Date Time (UT) Alt Azi
Start of partial eclipse (C1) 2017/08/21 17:01:17 63.9° 154.8°
Start of total eclipse (C2) 2017/08/21 18:29:50.1 63.9° 205.4°
Maximum eclipse 2017/08/21 18:31:09.6 63.8° 206.1°
End of total eclipse (C3) 2017/08/21 18:32:28.9 63.6° 206.8°
End of partial eclipse (C4) 2017/08/21 19:56:17.0 51.9° 239.1°
Posted by Chad Dotson in Photography, 2 comments

DLSR Lightning Trigger 4

Success again!  This time the lightning trigger managed to capture a good bolt (though not as photogenic as I would have liked).  I ran into trouble again with my camera exiting the “Quick-response remote” release mode.  This caused me to miss more than a few events, but I did find the solution.  Buried in one of the custom settings is a timeout for the remote feature.  It defaults to 1 minute!  I’ve now set it at the max of 15 minutes.  Maybe this has worked some of the kinks out and the next storm will produce some good lightning opportunities.

Posted by Chad Dotson in Hobbies, Photography, Programming, Technology, 0 comments

On Software Engineering


Writing from the patio on a much deserved day off. What a day, sunny and 68 this 3rd day of spring. It sometimes makes it real hard to work inside in a windowless box. It’s been a busy day of a different sort, but dang I could get used to it.

Software Engineering Is Consuming

Software Engineering can and is absolutely consuming work.  The short of it is, we like what we do so we tend to focus a lot of attention on it.  We are problem solvers, designers, learners, and the list goes on.  I am of the philosophy that you should find and do something you like because anything else is a waste.  I guess that philosophy has its pros and its cons.  Is it so bad when your day consists of writing code, solving problems, researching, and learning new things?

Achieving Balance

I guess everyone talks about work/life balance and its true; you must always take time for yourself.  Get outside, do some walking.  It will help clear your head and it is a good stress reliever.  Maybe you’ll come back to the task with some fresh ideas and renewed vigor.  The schedule will always be there.

Personally as of April, I will have been on a diet and exercise plan for 2 years.  I’ve lost a lot and still need to lose more.  One of my biggest problems has been shorting myself on time to maintain my walking and weight lifting.  I seem to always get wrapped up in something.

Having a rewarding hobby is probably a good idea.  I’m not talking about coding a side project (don’t we all seem to have an overabundance of those), I’m talking about something else entirely.  My non-programming hobby is photography.  I don’t get to do it much it seems anymore it seems, but I do find winter a dreary time to take photos.  I did have a major accomplishment in this area last fall.  I officially photographed a wedding.  While I was originally scared to take on such a task, the photos turned out wonderfully.  I took the photo below today.


Bradford Pear Blooming Spring 2015


Posted by Chad Dotson in Hobbies, Key Concepts, Photography, Programming, Ramblings, Software Engineering, 0 comments

2011 In Pictures

These are a sampling of pictures I have taken this year.  I selected them based on how representative they were of the month I took them in.


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This was the most snow I can remember.  6.5″ to 7″ total depending on where I measured.  Duke and Daisy had fun in it.


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I didn’t have alot of photos from February.  This was one of the few.  I took it from the shore of Woods Reservoir.


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I got a few flower pics for March along with pictures of the Supermoon on March 19.


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April was the month mainly remembered for the Southeast tornado outbreak (more).  The next to last picture was of the clouds that day near sunset.  Other than that, Daisy liked it.  I liked the hummingbird photo I took with the strange lens flare.  I also liked that last sunrise photo for the colors.


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Didn’t have a whole lot of notable pictures for May.  I thought this carved figurine was pretty neat.  Its just a solar light.


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June was a very good month for lightning.  On the 15th, there was a massive electrical storm.  I captured lots of lightning strikes that day.  One of the composites I created from that day is above.  You can find more here and here.


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July was another month I didn’t have a lot of photos from, but I did get one of Duke.


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I started off August with a trip to Solomons, Maryland.  I’ve selected a few photos from the trip but more can be found here.  Towards the end there was some lightning and I tried my hand at some star trail photography.


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Photos from September consist primarily of ones taken from Sewanee.  The photos I selected were taken near the end of the month at sunset (or just after).


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October was a mixed month.  It started off with a bit of a fiery sunset, had some lightning, had a double sundog near the middle, and ended with another trip to Sewanee.


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November was a pretty good month for photos.  I got some pretty good sunrise, mud hen, abstract, and star photos.  The star photos I’ve included here were taken with a new lines I got, a Nikon35mm f/1.8.


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I was able to get some pretty good sunrise photos at the beginning of December.  I toyed around with that new lens I mentioned earlier along with some exposure settings.  I think I liked the results.  Around the middle, I went to see Tornado Alley 3D at the Chattanooga IMax.  I was able to get a decent shot after sunset of Lookout Mountain.  The month ended with trip to Huntsville to see the Galaxy of Lights at the Huntsville Botanical Garden.  I didn’t have many photos from the Galaxy of Lights so I just included one of the Rocket Center.


Posted by Chad Dotson in Featured, Misc, Photography, 0 comments

June 15, 2011 Lightning

Tonight turned out to be one of the best nights I’ve had for lightning photography.  I was able to place my camera outside under the new awning over the deck and take a ton of photos.  Since this particular storm was so energetic, I was able to capture lightning in a majority of the photos I took.  Here are a selection of the photos I took tonight.

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Posted by Chad Dotson in Photography, 1 comment

Connecting a Nikon D5000 to a Telescope

I’ve recently posted photos (also re-posted below) that I’ve taken of the moon with my Nikon D5000 connected to my telescope.  Here are the components that I used.

  • Total Cost: $41.65

Edit: For this to work, you will have to use manual mode (“M”).

Lunar Photography Attempt #1:
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Lunar Photography Attempt #2 (Supermoon):
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Posted by Chad Dotson in Photography, Technology, 4 comments