A solar eclipse is something I have always wanted to see, but never really expected to. Especially not right in my home state of Oregon, where I live within 50 miles from totality! I have seen plenty of lunar eclipses which are a lot more common, but no where near as cool. This hasn’t happened here in nearly 100 years, so I would consider it a “once in a lifetime” event. And it definitely lived up to my expectations and beyond.
We were somewhere between Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. To get to the top of this mountain, you ascend 1,360 feet in 2.4 miles. We were trying to avoid the crowds of Eastern Oregon and ended up camping near this location without any problems or fees. It afforded us 360 degree views of the area, and provided an excellent vantage of Mt. Hood to our North. We expected very few to know of this “secret” location, and found out we were wrong. But considering other options in the area like iconic Smith Rock and anywhere in Madras, this was not crowded in comparison.
We spent a lot of time getting our cameras set up and then slowly watched through our solar glasses as the moon began to overtake the sun. The light slowly disappeared over the next hour as we waited in excitement. I had two cameras taking video while Brianna had her two cameras going for all phases of the eclipse. The wind started picking up and then it got really dark fast as the last sliver of sun slowly disappeared. Everyone around us erupted with wow and every equivalent word to express their awe of the surroundings and the view above.
We were all taken back by the surreal magnificence of the totality, taking our cheesy glasses off and looking up with our own eyes unfiltered. The darkness was eerie and it was surrounded by what looked like sunset on all horizons. I felt small, and somewhat insignificant compared to the big universe out there. The moon put me in my place compared to the vast expanse of infinite light above. For two minutes, we were without the sun to warm us. The moon cooled our location by 10 degrees Fahrenheit very quickly. To think we would be nothing without that bright orange bulb up there is kinda scary when put in perspective.
The eclipse left me feeling awed and inspired. It put me in my place in the world and reminded me how life is fleeting and now is the time to make the most of it. Any moment could be your last breath and you shouldn’t take it for granted. There are so many amazing things to see out there, and I am ready to see them first hand. This was my first eclipse and it certainly won’t be my last. There are groups of photographers that travel the world chasing eclipses. When we travel the world, we may find ourselves in the path of totality once again. The next to hit the U.S. will be in 2024 and there is a pretty good chance we will be there to see it again. See more photography at Brianna’s photography blog at LotsaSmilesPhoto.com.
Here is a short video of our viewing of the eclipse.