The Great American Solar Eclipse
My dad and I woke up at 12 am for the 1.5hr drive to Glendo State Park to a spot I had scouted out the day before. When we arrived at the park, there was a tree blocking the road to the site. As much as I love my Ram Rebel, I'm glad we brought my dads Ram 2500. We snapped two tow straps trying to remove the tree from the road. We eventually got it moved enough so that one car could get by. I'm glad I was able to get to that spot. It was a little more isolated with only about 100 people nearby, instead of the 30,000+ that were packed together in the town a few miles to the south. By the way, the city of Glendo has a population of 205!
Camera wise I set up my GoPro to get a wide shot of the Eclipse, as I wanted to capture the shadow move across the sky. For the close-up, the camera I used was my Canon 1DX MK II and Canon 500mm F4 L lens plus a 2X extender to make it a 1000mm lens! This camera has amazing picture quality and will also shoot 4K video. Shooting in 4K, however, was challenging. The camera crops the center of the sensor by 1.3X, so it gave me an effective focal length of 1300mm. The problem with being that close is that without tracking the sun moves across the frame very quickly. Also, at that extreme focal length, any tiny wisp of wind will shake the camera. To counter this, I parked my dads truck and put the camera low to the ground to block the wind. Additionally, I had only 2:29 seconds of Totality, so there was no room for error. In addition to shooting video, I shot stills every few mins. I stopped the video mid totality and was able to snap a pic. I got was able to generate this mosaic using photoshop.
During the Eclipse. I noticed as the moon passed over the sun that the light got softer and turned a slight blue color (similar to a full moon). At the flip of a switch, it went dark. The suns outer atmosphere, the solar Corona, stretched out in the sky. I could also see the surface of the moon. I was able to switch my camera to stills mode quickly and was able to capture a high res Image during Totality.
After the eclipse was over, we had to sit in traffic for 7 hours just to make it back to the hotel. Interstate 25 is pretty much the only road that heads N/S in the state. Wyoming does not have the infrastructure to handle such an event. Cars were running out of gas and gas stations were running out of gas. Luckily my dad's diesel truck gets near 600-mile range a tank, plus we had 10 gallons in the back in the event we ran out.
I had a fantastic time, and I'm happy with my results. But I think I will stay home for the next eclipse in 2024. But that's because the path of Totality will cover my backyard :)
Image © Harley Grady 2017