The Great American Eclipse

The hotel’s free breakfast is enough to fill you up a bit, but I’d need more, fortunately there are several options across the street. Unfortunately, I don’t have time as there is something much more important going on.

(Partial eclipse photo coming)

There are not as many people out here as I was led to believe. Maybe two dozen at most, this motel can’t be completely full, and probably not the one across the street either (lots of things across streets here).

I talk with others in the parking lot: some staff, a couple of families, and a few couples. Everyone seemed to have eclipse glasses, so no one needed any of my extras. One brought an old-school projection device invented by Galileo.

We can tell that the light is getting dimmer. There is not much wildlife right next to the highway to notice them getting quieter. My GoPro is recording, hopefully I have it aimed well. I know the cameraphone will be nearly useless, and in the last minute before totality, the street lights come on, ruining photographic opportunity, so the DSLR comes off the tripod as I sprint for the side of the highway for less interference (aside from the threat of distracted drivers).

(Totality phase photos coming)

I fire off shots repeatedly, knowing that most will look the same, I also step back and rotate the camera to get the scale of the ground with the hidden sun, but can quickly tell that the manual settings won’t allow a decently lit photo of the full landscape. I’d rather watch the show than play with camera settings, sorry everyone. The video below does a better job on showing the landscape and the oncoming darkness.

(Failed landscape photo coming)

The camera comes back up at the end, in an attempt to capture Bailey’s Beads and the “diamond ring” signaling the end of totality.

(Bailey’s Beads and/or diamond ring photos coming)

It seems the hardest part of this trip was getting a hotel near enough so that I could drive into the path of totality. Plane tickets, car hire, and even the motel directly in the path were quite easy to acquire.

No major traffic issues driving south (less than 1 hour), but driving back North the next day took 5.5 hours. Even the extra water and snacks we were warned to bring were not needed. The warnings suggested to treat this as a disaster zone – all the extra people would drain important resources like bottled water, fresh foods, and gasoline.

Would I do this again? Sure, depending on how easy it is (or how interesting it would be) to get to where I would need to be. I would have gone to Svalbard for a previous one, you know I like the cold. I could try for the Eastern US/Canadian total eclipse in 2024, not sure about Chile/Argentina in 2019 and 2020.

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