The diamond ring of the total solar eclipse of 29 March 2006 at in Side near Antalya in Turkey was spectacular.
Towards the end of the eclipse the corona of the solar atmosphere still radiates along the upper left limb of the sun.
A split second before end of the total solar eclipse a first ray of sunlight breaks through a crater gap along the rugged topography of the moon's limb.
This creates for a fleeting moment a spectacular flash of sunlight, called the diamond ring. Immediately afterwards, the sunlight reappears in several places and causes the pearl string effect,
also known as the Baily's beads.
The now abruptly increasing brightness of the sun ends the solar eclipse, because the core shadow races away at 2000 km/h.
The description of Adalbert Stifter from the year 1842 could not summarize it better:
There are things that one knows for fifty years, and then in the fifty-first marvels at the gravity and dreadfulness of their contents.
I knew that at such and such a time the moon would cover the sun, until only a small sickle remains and finally it too disappears—on earth it becomes ever darker,
until again on the other end the sun-sickle appears and grows, and light on earth gradually swells again until the complete day—all of this I knew in advance,
and really so well that I thought to be able to describe a total solar eclipse beforehand as faithfully as if I had already seen it.
However, now that it has really appeared, and I regarded the phenomenon with my own eyes, there naturally occurred entirely other things,
which I had never thought of either waking or dreaming, and about which no one thinks who has not seen this miracle.
Never, ever in my entire life was I so shaken, from terror and sublimity so shaken, as in these two minutes it was nothing other than if God had all at once spoken a clear word and I had understood it.
The holiest, which I ever saw in light effect.
A man, a serious man, later told me that his tears were running down his face.
I have always thought the old descriptions of solar eclipses to be exaggerated, just as perhaps in later times they will be thought to be exaggerated; but all, like these, are far behind the truth.
Due to this deep impression of a solar eclipse, it is absolutely necessary to master the photographic handling of the camera by heart.
I tested the handling of the camera countless times in a darkened room.
This is the only way to prevent fatal mistakes during the incredibly short and irretrievable three minutes of the eclipse.
Canon 20D, Canon EF-L 100-400mm, f/8, 1/15 sec, ISO 100, tripod