Recently, my best friend & fellow photographer sent me a Variable Neutral Density Filter for my birthday. I immediately set out on a mission to master it & to also scout out a suitable perch from which I would photograph the eclipse. I needed a spot that was high up.... one of the only spots meeting that description was a giant grassy hill, Mount Trashmore. I know what you are thinking... (Those of you who are not from Hampton Roads, Virginia) - & yes, there really is such a place called Mount Trashmore & Yes, it is created from trash. haha!!! On occasion, it has been known to sprout a leak here & there... but not today! Today, I would "catch a tiger by it's toe!"; I would stare into the eye of the sun!
So, I headed out - no need to bring a camera bag with all of my goodies... I would only bring my camera, 70-200mm lens equipped with my new filter & my tripod - good to go! Upon arrival, I scanned the crest of the "mountain" to pick my spot - I needed a location that was at the highest peak & preferably with the least amount of people... I certainly needed to stay away from anyone who might be flying a kite! That could be disastrous!!! With eyes set on my prime location, I headed up the face of the "mountain" - I opted not to take the stairs... too many people there - I didn't want to draw any attention. The moment was about me, my camera and a date with the Sun. Huffing & puffing, I made it to the spot, set up my gear & lens pointing upward to the sun, I fired off my first shot... This was going to be tough. It was so bright out that I couldn't see my shots in the screen on my camera - save some occasional shade from passing clouds. So, flying blind, I made adjustments here & there based off of my photographic knowledge & instincts. I was having a blast, but it was blazing hot and the air thick with humidity. I decided I had had enough - not to mention, it was killing me to not be able to see what I was capturing. I was excited to race home & see how I had done!
That's when I realized the horror.... UGH!!! I felt a wetness on the back of my pants... I had apparently been sliding around on goose poop & in my favorite Lucky Brand jeans!!! OMG!!! Nooooo... I needed to get home & with a quickness!!! Urgency had set in! Quickly, I grabbed my tripod with camera still attached & began to scurry down the hill when I spy an adorable little old man with his 2 grandchildren heading in my direction!!! no no no! "Do not engage in eye contact! Just keep moving!" I said to myself.... The man's voice rose over that of my own like a foghorn in the mist, "Oh WOW!!! You must be a professional photographer! What kind of filters do you use?" My attention immediately snapped from my inward thoughts of exodus to the old man, smile beaming on his face; the children running around him as if he were a may pole.... Normally, I would be more than happy to wile away the hours conversing about photography... but I had goose poop smeared to the back of me... DOOOOOOM!!!!
I forced a smile back at him & chatted for a bit, but I could feel the wetness of the goose feces cold against my skin. The smell was becoming a bit more noxious - I was certain there was no way he could not see the glowing green stain down the back of me... Sweat pouring from my brow, I could feel the sense of anxiety and urgency surging & pounding, becoming deafening in my head... I needed a plan! I needed to get away!!!.... think think think..... I've got it!! The man had commented on my gear - I would use it to my advantage! It's getting heavy, it's hot! Yes, play that up! Exaggerate a face of anguish!!! Surely, he will pick up on the cues! - these are the thoughts going through my head as the man continued to chat on & on. Like an Oscar winning actress, I amplified the anguished expression and even slumped my body posture to emphasize the fact that I was holding heavy camera equipment under a blazing hot sun. SUCCESS!!!! The man took note! He wished me good luck at capturing the coming eclipse and we said our polite goodbyes. HOORAY!!!
I headed on down the hill toward my car, holding the camera gear over the florescent streak on my bum. I was on the home stretch!!! Quickly.... just get to the car.... but NOOOO!!! The parking lot was full of people! Oh the anxiety! Just keep walking.... make your way through the sea of people... if you don't look at them, they can't see you.... this hadn't worked with the old man, but maybe it would work here.... Like a crab, I dodged sideways between the cars, hiding my backside & trying not to bang the cars with my tripod... WHEW!!! I made it! A sigh of relief.... Right then & there, in that moment, I knew Mount Trashmore would not be my perch for the eclipse. I would need to find another locale. The next few days, I searched & searched but in the end, I found the best spot to be was simple... The place to be was Home.
Below is a slideshow of the images I was able to capture on this day as well as some rather unconventional & abstract images of the Solar Eclipse. I hope you enjoy looking through my eyes to see what I saw when I looked into the eye of the sun.