Photographing the Eclipse 2017 - Wyoming Magazine

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Photographing the Eclipse 2017

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The event of the century, they called it. A once in a lifetime event, they said. All they hype, hoopla, and the chicken-littles running around were all correct: IT WAS AMAZING.  Kudos for all those across the state who coordinated everything – from planes being parked, events, lodging, to enough food, gas, bottled water, and all other amenities we take for granted that suddenly were being absorbed by an estimated 1 million extra people who came to visit our state, and witness this spectacle with us.

For us, we were on top of a section of the Pioneer Wind farm off of Mormon Canyon Road, outside of Glenrock, WY, and we had a perfect, unobstructed view of this event.  Five cameras, two GoPros, and two drones complimented our equipment list….and the checklist to ensure this went well was somewhat overwhelming, as none of us had ever photographed this event before. Did everyone have the proper filters (we joked about camera stores getting a lot of business shortly afterwards due to folks burning theirs out)? What ISO? When to change it? Which shutter speed is going to be best? Is the haze from the Montana fires going to affect us? Do we have enough spare batteries? Are they fully charged? How about tripods? Sandbags for counter weights? And the list went on….I almost felt like we were planning for an international trip instead of a ‘simple’ photo shoot.

We got up on the mountain at 0900, and started setting up all the equipment – and the haul from the road to the ‘perfect’ spot was another tale to tell…where’s the pack mule when you need one? Oh…right…that would be ME…. We got everything set up; drones, tripods, counter weights, filters on the lenses, chairs and blankets set up next to them, and then did the most important part – dug into the coolers, grabbed some snacks, popped a top on a couple ice cold cans of our favorite beverages (Mountain Dew for me, Pepsi for the wife), waited for the show to begin, and mentally go through our checklists…again, and again.

Once the eclipse started, the anticipation and nervous energy started to dissipate…until the first ‘Bailey’s Beads’ and ‘Diamond’ appeared, and then it was a mad, frantic scramble to take off the filters, refocus/ensure the focus was correct, change ISO and shutter speed settings, and start shooting through the entire eclipse sequence. As the moon shut off the sun to a mere sliver, we noticed right off that the atmosphere around us changed. Crickets, grasshoppers and birds hushed. Even the wind died down to a mere whisper. A herd of about 40 cattle came at a dead run to the fence nearby, stopped in a double layered line, and simply watched us. When totality hit, it was dark….but the colors were still there. It wasn’t like it a normal night scene. The sky was a deep, deep blue. Clouds on the horizon showed a deep orange in color. All the lights on top of the wind mills came on, and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees in the space of about a minute. We cheered, we danced around, and gave glory to God for the spectacular light show we were witnessing (still hitting the remote shutter button, of course).

We now understand why so many people chase eclipses – the event is something you want to see again and again…and again….2 minutes of this wasn’t enough! So, we’re planning to be in New England for the next one in 2024 – who’s up for a road trip!?

Article and photos courtesy of Eric Salveggio

 

 

 

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