Do you remember where you were on August 21, 2017 about 2pm?
It was our first summer parked outside Asheville, NC. In June we learned that the path of totality for the August eclipse of the sun would run just a few miles from our coach!
We started scouting a good vantage point to photograph the event. I wanted a light-colored building for the foreground, because it would show more readily in dark surroundings with the sun still showing as a funny bright ring in the background. A church with a steeple would be nice. The building needed to face the right way…the sun would be roughly in the southwest sky.
Google Maps and I were very close companions for several weeks.
We drove to a number of possible sites. One of the most promising was 100 miles away! It was a private K-12 school with a large white and brick administration building with a white bell tower, and it was set on a hill that allowed me to shoot from down below the front, aiming up past the building into the sky to *perfectly* catch the eclipsed sun! I made this photo two weeks ahead of the eclipse at almost exactly the same time as it would occur (how fortunate to have all the clouds blocking the sun this day!).
The next day I read more about the school…and discovered they were closing their property on the day of the eclipse to all outsiders!
This event was a HUGE deal in the path of totality and for miles around. We discovered that several campers were scheduled into our park for the eclipse.
After more scouting, I found a church only 50 miles away that would work. I even talked to their pastor to confirm I could shoot in their front yard while the church staff sat outside to watch the eclipse.
The eclipse was eerie! It really did get fairly dark. Although the moon totally blocked the sun, the sun’s light was still so bright it showed as a small ring around the moon, and it cast slight shadows around us.
In the first image below, if I processed it so that the sun’s ring showed up the same way we saw it…the rest of the image would be mostly black. Like the second image below.
The second image I took with a 300mm lens that only showed the dark sky near the moon blocking the sun. I shot it after the moon had just barely begun to move away from the sun enough to allow the slightest view of the sun’s globe. The tiny points of red around the ring of light, the bulge of bright light on the right, and the distinctive shafts of light are all peculiar artifacts of a solar eclipse.
By the way, the small point of light to the right of the church steeple was…I think…Jupiter. The early afternoon sky was soooo dark that we could see that bright planet!