You also have a series of eclipse photos that have made an impact online. Could you tell us a little bit about those?
I had heard about the eclipse for about a year prior. My mom sent me a newspaper clipping and was like, “Hey, you see there’s going to be an eclipse coming right over us?” The last time I saw a partial one, I was probably around six, when I lived back up near Seattle. This time, the path of the eclipse came almost right over where we’re living now. So, I was only going to have to drive a short ways to be in complete totality, and obviously, it was an experience I wasn’t going to pass up.
So, I again went to Google Earth and Google Maps to scour locations along the route there to see if there’s anything particularly cool. I wanted to get one with a really cool tree in the foreground and the eclipse above it. But, being that it was in the middle of the day, the sun was going to be really high in the sky when it happened, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to. But, I did find a big, cool, old oak tree outside of Columbia, Missouri, so I decided that was going to be the spot that I was going to go to.
Once I had that spot picked out, I got online to buy some solar film, did as much reading as I could to read up on best practices for getting the shot right as the sun transitions and all that stuff because I never shot an eclipse before. I rented a 600mm from BorrowLenses. I got that out and my solar filter over the top and I practiced just shooting the plain sun for a day or two beforehand to be ready. Then, it was the day. We drove out there, picked our spot, got all set up. Apparently, other people had the same thing in mind too, because there were like 200 other cars that ended up parking along the road.
It wasn’t as secluded as I was thinking. It turned out to be a pretty popular location. But it was kind of a fun little experience because it turned out to be a little bit of a party. People were picnicking out there and having a good time.
I had my stuff set up, all ready to go, and clouds started moving in, and everyone was freaking out because two minutes to go time and there was mostly cloud cover. All this time and patience waiting and now we might miss it. As it went to full eclipse, clouds came over, but I had my 600mm.
Luckily, I had two cameras with me at that time. I had one shooting video and one taking pictures. The video that I got of the full eclipse coming out as the clouds started to clear in front of it is like the coolest shot I’ve ever seen in my life. I was so pumped about it. How it’s just shaping out the sides and stuff, that’s all from clouds and I think it just gave it that extra oomph that really made it look cool.We only got about 20 seconds of actually seeing the full totality, but I was pretty amazed at myself because it happened so quick that if you’re just off a little bit, or don’t have your settings right, that’s it.
The whole experience of feeling the shadow coming towards you, and it’s starting to look like sunset in the middle of the day. You feel the temperature lower and the crickets start to come out and chirp. Then, as it hits, it’s like a 360-degree sunset all around the horizon and it’s so cool. It’s a unique feeling that you really can’t describe because it’s so unusual. It was a fun experience.
I know that you’re just staying close to home now, shooting weddings and things like that, but anything on the horizon that we should be keeping an eye out for? Do you have any new projects that you’re working on?
This one I’ve got coming up next month is one that I am looking forward to. But no, no big trips on the horizon, unfortunately. Just a couple smaller projects, trying to make Kansas look pretty.
Yeah, I’m surprised that the Kansas Tourism Board hasn’t contacted you yet.
Actually, I think the sunflower ones are in the most recent Kansas Tour Guide for 2018!