The August 21st 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

 2012 partial Solar Eclipse, East Shore< Lake Tahoe © Grant Kaye

2012 partial Solar Eclipse, East Shore< Lake Tahoe © Grant Kaye

Early on the morning of August 21st of this year (2017) there is a full solar eclipse, visible across most of the United States.

 

The path of totality starts off the coast of South Carolina, and races across the lower 48 states, making itself visible in Oregon around 9:30-10:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time, depending on where the viewer is located on the path of totality. 

So, where do you go to view this magnificent, once (or if your lucky, twice) in a lifetime event?

Xavier Jubier's excellent interactive Google Map of the path of totality is a wonderful planning tool, as it overlays the moon's shadow (path of totality) over an Google Map that you can pan and zoom, and click on a point to pop-up a window that shows the exact start/finish time of the event (in UTC - subtract 7 hours in you are in the Pacific Time zone) at the location you choose.

Xavier's Planning Page - CLICK HERE

Once you figure out where you are going to be, what can you expect to see?

During a total solar eclipse, if you are underneath the path of totality, the moon passes in front of the sun, and it's shadow falls on the earth and obscures almost all of the sun's light. If you have a long lens pointed at the Sun, you may see solar prominences, as will "Bailey's Beads"  which are the refractions of sunlight around topography of the moon. 

If you are shooting the landscape, with the sun in the frame, you will see an eerie dusk-like sky, with stars and planets, and a near-total lack of shadows on the ground. 

Typically I would go through my archives and post some sample images, but other than the above image made in 2012, I have never been lucky enough to photograph a solar eclipse, let alone a TOTAL solar eclipse. So, I will look to the excellent work of my colleagues to show some examples of what is possible, to get your creative ideas flowing: 

Beware when freviewing the images that are out there, there is a LOT of fakery. If you see an INCREDIBLE image that looks too good to be true, it probably is.