I overheard a guy say that the recent solar eclipse was arguably “one of the greatest events of the year”. I have to agree. The “event” was so rare and awe inspiring that it prompted people from everywhere to park themselves along its path to break out obscenely long lenses, 50X ND filters , & “Eclipse Viewing/welding glasses just to witness it. The shear scale of this celestial spectacular served to remind me of just how small we humans are. And from a photographer’s perspective, I couldn’t help but notice that so many of the images of the full eclipse were simply phenomenal!
Now…all that having been said, California wasn’t along the full eclipse viewing path. So we photogs within the Golden State didn’t shoot any pristine images of a perfectly aligned solar eclipse. Of course, I had to ask myself whether I’d missed one of those once in a lifetime photo ops by not calling in sick & heading up to Oregon, Idaho, or any number of only slightly less remote locations to get that spectacular shot. Well…as it turns out, I really hadn’t.
Don’t get me wrong…it would have totally been worth the 15 hour drive, endless lies & fake doctors notes had I done that. But, here, like in many other places, the (partial) Eclipse was still a great event! For me, the eclipse was an opportunity to photograph people enjoying and witnessing something that most had never and would never see again. Business, traffic, and some would say even Time itself came to a standstill as everyone came outside to observe whatever portion of the eclipse viewable from their location. OK…”Time standing still” is a bit of an exaggeration. But, the fact is that multitudes of people stopped what they were doing and gathered with others to view something rare & spectacular. Most people displayed this peculiarly simultaneous expression of joy and awe. Of course, camera in hand, I was like a kid in a candy store. Now, I have to admit, I didn’t take one photo of the eclipse – no obscenely long lens nor 50X ND filter – but instead photographed the aforementioned people. As a whole, I think the “event” that was the eclipse was only slightly less amazing than the full eclipse in all it’s glory. Rare & Spectacular for sure!