August 21, 2017 @ Aurora, Nebraska
As a photographer, my preferred way of people enjoying an experience is through the photos I take. The less time you spend travelling means that it is easier for me to get to places and enjoy those locations by myself. The more you stay at home and live through my photos, the happier I am. Photographers like me love for everyone to stay where they are at and leave the world to us. Let us bring the world to you. Let us show you the world.
Except for one event.
For most situations we encounter in our daily lives, the difference between 99% and 100% may not be that significant. But, the difference between a 99% solar eclipse coverage and a total solar eclipse is, literally, day and night. I used to think that 80% coverage is pretty good. 90% is superb. 99%. Why even bother to leave the backyard. Wrong. Wrong. And Wrong. When that last thin sliver of the sun finally slips behind the moon, it will be as though someone flipped a heavenly switch. The sky above will turn dark, dark blue, and in all directions, the horizon will be painted to gorgeous sunset colors. The sun, which just one second ago was too bright to see without eclipse glasses, will instantly change to a ring of gorgeous corona surrounding a dark circle, our moon. Left image: solar eclipse at 99.x% coverage. Right image: solar eclipse at 100% coverage.
If you have a bucket list, add total solar eclipse to that list.
I may start to sound like a fanatic by now. But, if you talk to anyone who just saw their first total solar eclipse this last Monday, most likely you will get the same vibe from them. Everyone I have spoken to, those of us lucky enough to witness the magic this week, all said they will definitely go see the total solar eclipse again when it sweeps into United States in 2024. I have yet to meet someone who has seen a total solar eclipse and doesn't want to see it again. Even our 14 years old daughter, who did not really cared for the partial eclipse leading up to the big event, was mesmerized during the two and half minutes of totality. Afterwards, she said that in 2024 she will gather up her college friends she has at the time and go see the total solar eclipse together.
If you don't have a bucket list, make one and put the total solar eclipse as your first entry.
Even though I am not a religious person, I can envision this is what an intense spiritual experience would be like. I remember the details leading up to the event and I remember the details after the event. But, I cannot remember much of the details other than pure awe during the two and half minutes of the totality. World seemed to have stopped. All eyes were looking up into the sky, at this black circle, our moon, surrounded by a ring of the glow from the sun behind. Temperature dropped. Birds, insects, and farm animals were confused. Wind grew still.
Next total solar eclipse in the United States will happen on April 8, 2024.
Other than the birth of my daughters, this is the next most wondrous event I have had ever witnessed. I am a photographer. I want my photos to tell the story. But, there is no photo, no video, no blog, that can adequately describe the total solar eclipse. This is something that you need to experience in person. Don't be fooled into thinking that a partial solar eclipse is good enough. Don't think that seeing an annular solar eclipse is same as a total solar eclipse. Don't get lazy and settle with 99% coverage. Get your vacation day in. Take a day off from classes. Bring your family. Grab your friends. Go out into a wide open field. Look up. And marvel at the sight when the sun, moon, and you are lined up as one.
See you under the moon's shadow in 2024.