August 21 this year brought a total solar eclipse to a large part of the United States. Where I live near Denver Colorado, we were expecting 92% coverage of the sun. Just a few hours away in Wyoming was the path of totality. I set my sights on going to photograph this once in a lifetime event. As the weeks went by, I lollygagged and procrastinated about getting my glasses for the eclipse and the film to use as a filter for the camera. In January I planned to reserve a hotel room so we could be sure to be in the area when the eclipse started. Fast forward to the first of August when the eclipse hysteria started and I realized that I totally dropped the ball on this event. There were no glasses to be found and reports of glasses that would not protect your eyes property were being recalled form distributors on Amazon. Which got me thinking, just how reliable are the glasses you would be picking up at the last moment unless you could verify that they were from a reputable recognized source like Thousand Oaks Optical Because of my loss of vision, I am very careful with any risk I undertake that could jeopardize the small amount of vision I have left – and looking directly into the sun for any length of time was a risk I was not willing to take. I used this as an excuse to comfort myself with the fact that I would not be seeing the eclipse in the path of totality – a fact that was further reinforced after I found out that rooms at the comfort inn were going for 2500 a night in the Casper Wyoming area.
I redirected my effort to find out what I could do during a 92% eclipse, and started looking around my house and surrounding park areas at the shadows on the ground. I knew that the light coming through objects like leaves and such – like shooting through a shaped light modifier would project the eclipse everywhere. I decided on a location and waited for the day to arrive. The images I got (this is an example not one of my final images – a story on those will come later) were undulating and reminded me of bubbles or ripples as the light filtered through the leaves near my house. I chose the ground location and angle so that I could get the clearest images of the light coming through. Overall I was happy with the results of my shoot for the day. The best part was taking a piece of cardboard with a pinhole and projecting the eclipse on a white surface for my son and mother to see. The exclamations of “that is cool I didn’t know you could do that” made my day worth it.
I have vowed to myself to be ready for the 2024 eclipse that will pass over the US. We will have to travel but if we plan ahead it should not be bad. A total eclipse is just something I would like to experience.