Ellis Beach, Australia, 14 November 2012, 5:37 am, the sun rises, lots of clouds, one hour to total solar eclipse ... despair on the beach!

We flew to Cairns on 12 November and spent the next day scouting the area for good setup spots.

The best we found was on the road going up the hills, a nice lookout with a small car park. That was our A plan.

It went down the same night when we drove there at 10pm to find it closed by the traffic police! Too risky if cars start to cram the place, in this accident prone area.

C plan was Palm Cove, a very nice and quiet beach resort north of Cairns, where we spent three nights.

We learnt afterwards that it got very busy with TV crews and livecam imagers broadcasting from that beach.

B plan was Ellis beach and it proved to be the perfect plan! We drove there around 10:30pm, the place was empty except from three tripods setup by an expert photographer: Alex was sleeping in his car nearby and visited us regularly through the night, great chats and excellent company!

3:46am, best focus and drift alignment done and tested on the Tarentula Nebula, Large Magellanic Cloud, 32s exposure, ISO800, AP130 on Mach1, Canon 5D MarkIII - with a verrrry sloowwww Kingston SDHC card - next time, I'll stick to CF cards ...

04:27 am

05:39am : rising sun through the clouds

05:46am : the moon starts to eclipse the sun

06:28am : in between clouds, clear sky, note the 4 sun spots!

06:32am : Clouds are back!!! Wait for the animated Gif to load ...

06:38am : Excellent, start of totality, clear skies!

Baily's beads and protuberances at acquisition scale

06:40am : End of totality and diamond ring !

HDR processing extracts the Sun's magnetic lines.

07:25am : note all the sun spots

07:36am : Clouds are back for the day ...