Chasing The Shadow – Eclipse 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017 Diamond Ring | Whims And Fancies


Diamond Ring – heralding Totality


Today I want to share something with you that is extremely special to me – our eclipse journey which I started planning two years ago.  It was two years ago that I called the hotel in the tiny little town of John Day, Oregon to reserve a room for the two of us for last weekend.  John Day lay in the path of totality, so we wouldn’t have to drive any further once we got there to see the total solar eclipse.



Solar Eclipse 2017 Baily's Beads | Whims And Fancies


Baily’s Beads – Sunlight rushing in between moon’s craters


This was our first total solar eclipse.  I have photographed a couple of partial ones before, but those were nothing compared to the sun being completely obscured by the moon.  I knew I had to capture this event with my camera and telescope. 

So, on Friday afternoon we started our 592-mile / 10-hour journey northbound to chase the moon’s shadow for the first time in our lives.  We both love to drive, and the scenery was fabulous.  At any other time, I would have stopped and taken a LOT of photos along the way, but my mind was focused on one and only one thing this time.


Solar Eclipse 2017 Baily's Beads With Prominence | Whims And Fancies


Close up of Baily’s Beads – bright sunlight filtering through the rough edges of the craters on the moon

Solar Prominences – Activity on the solar surface shown in red


I knew going in that I would be able to either view and enjoy the eclipse or take photos.  I chose photos.  Totality would last only 2 minutes at our location and I had to finish taking a series of photos within that time.  Immediately after, the solar filter would need to be placed back in front of the telescope before the sun would emerge again, so my eyes and my optics would not be left permanently damaged.


Solar Eclipse 2017 Earthshine | Whims And Fancies


Couldn’t pass up a chance of capturing the lunar surface covering the sun


We spent Sunday at the hotel.  We were lucky enough to be able to park our car right in front of our room.  The car powered my telescope’s motorized mount so it could continue to track the sun once I had everything set up and aligned correctly.  We spent the morning making sure the setup worked from that location.  The afternoon was spent rehearsing the set of exposures I would be taking.


Solar Eclipse 2017 Totality | Whims And Fancies




One last rehearsal Monday morning and I was set.  I started watching and recording the partial eclipse from the very beginning.  As the moon proceeded to cover the majority of the sun, the light started dimming quite significantly and the temperature dropped noticeably as well.  I felt a chill in the air and we experienced late twilight in the middle of an otherwise very sunny morning.  

Right then, the alarm went off on the phone to tell us to remove the solar filter and start clicking.  The race against time had begun!  It felt like the two minutes were over even before the countdown started.  I didn’t get a chance to look up at the sky, but I also knew I would be very sad if I didn’t take the photos.



Solar Eclipse 2017 | Whims And Fancies


Total Solar Eclipse – Beginning To End


My husband helped me rehearse the photography sequence more than a dozen times, and talked to curious strangers while I was setting up my telescope so I could keep my concentration.  Most importantly, he sacrificed his viewing experience to remove and replace the solar filter on time, to call the photo settings out loud and to shine a red light on the camera so I could shoot uninterrupted. 

This was my first try at taking photos of totality and I really could not have done this without him.  I wish we had a few more seconds so he could have enjoyed it a bit longer. I owe him another eclipse journey.


I anticipated this for so long, now I am a bit sad that it’s over.  As happy as I am with the photos, I also wish that I spent time experiencing the totality with my own eyes.  Shakespeare said it best –  “For man is a giddy thing and this is my conclusion“.

Thank You for listening!


I am also linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.   They are fun to visit and great source for new inspirations.


34 thoughts on “Chasing The Shadow – Eclipse 2017

  • Ness September 2, 2017 at 13:29

    Just absolutely amazing! We had an eclipse in the UK a couple of years ago and a got a few photos but nothing on your scale. Your planning for the event has totally paid off. What an amazing experience for you both.

  • Kay Davies September 1, 2017 at 17:13

    Wow! How wonderful for you, and your husband. What a great time you had, and your photos are exquisite. We had only a partial eclipse here in western Canada. I stayed inside with the dog (my husband was afraid she might accidentally look at the sun) and most of the windows covered. I could see the day turning almost to twilight, but the dog slept right through it!

  • Peter B. September 1, 2017 at 11:12

    Wow, absolutely stunning shots! All your preparation and practice clearly paid off. I had heard of Bailey’s Beads but hadn’t seen anyone actually capture them. Also, the “beginning to end” composite photo is so cool!!

  • Mary August 31, 2017 at 16:04

    Oh Soma, these photos are just stunning – the best I’ve seen. The detail is just incredible. I loved seeing the Bailey Beads. You always take such amazing photos, but you have even outdone yourself this time. Thank you! Please also thank K for his assistance in letting all of us enjoy these.

  • Kelleyn Rothaermel August 31, 2017 at 00:39

    Your photos are absolutely fantastic! I wasn’t able to see it as we are living this next year in Germany, but my two oldest boys took their nana to see it in South Carolina. The said it was amazing. I watched it here on the news, but it wasn’t the same.

  • Julie August 30, 2017 at 14:24

    What awesome photos, well worth the journey to see it. Such a pity it was in the USA only.

  • Linda August 30, 2017 at 14:05

    A wonderful post! I loved reading this and your photos are amazing! Thanks for sharing on ‘sew stitch snap SHARE’

  • Lydia C. Lee August 30, 2017 at 13:52

    That shot with the solar flares is AMAZING. Well done!

  • Ruth | Tanama Tales August 29, 2017 at 18:09

    Your photos are incredible! I didn’t know so much effort was required to take good photos of the eclipse. I am glad you enjoyed the experience. Cheers to your husband who was awesome enough to help you out! #OurWorldTuesday

  • The Eclectic Abuela August 29, 2017 at 17:32

    What a wonderful post–thank you!

  • Villroses hage August 29, 2017 at 11:08

    I also remember the chill the time I experienced a solar eclipse.

  • Lady Fi August 29, 2017 at 10:31

    Wow – stunning!

  • Marie-OR August 29, 2017 at 08:09

    Wow! You did this right! I am so impressed with your dedication to getting the perfect photos of this event, and you certainly did. Painting and sewing are two of my favorite past-times as well. We were totally (pun unintended! :-) ) unprepared for the event and when our friend joined us and brought a telescope (we live in Terrebonne and frankly I was more worried about traffic jams and accidents, potential fires and jacked up prices because of the thousands of extra people who were coming to our area that week than in seeing the eclipse) we were able to enjoy it. He didn’t have photograph-capability on his telescope but we did use a white board to project the image and took pictures of that. Now that I look back I wish we’d had the equipment to get photos such as yours! BTW our area came through completely unscathed…I had worried for nothing! :-)

  • Jennifer in Indy August 28, 2017 at 17:54

    Wonderful pictures from the eclipse! I was at work in 91% and it was neat, but nothing like what my husband experienced in Kentucky. I am looking forward to 2024 when my home is in the path of totality. What an amazing experience!

  • Jesh StG August 28, 2017 at 00:08

    Can imagine that after rehearsing the timing, etc. putting all your energy to the sequence and the right location, it’s hard to have closure and to let go, because it all were mere minutes! Besides, you and your hubby have been planning this for two years!
    But your photos give you a look back on the whole event. Your photos are absolutely perfect – you can be proud of them! Thank you so much for sharing this historic event with All Seasons! Now I hope you relax and enjoy the last days of summer:)

  • bettyl - NZ August 27, 2017 at 20:34

    I’m all for getting what you went for and you did a great job. There’s no reason to lament, so just enjoy your photos. I know I love them!!

  • Susan August 26, 2017 at 16:07

    Soma, those photos are fabulous! You prepared and the results are exciting and awesome – in the original meaning of the word. I got dinky photographs, but I was excited to be there and to see it. We were in the middle of a snow the last time there was a total, so this was fabulous for me. We saw the diamond ring, but I missed the beads, so I’m especially appreciative of your showing that. Are you traveling south for 2024? =) I’m pretty sure I will. We had totality right here, but only about 30 seconds. It seemed to go so quickly! Now I want another one! We’ll only be at 85% for 2024, so I’m thinking if my friend still lives in Dallas, that’s where I’ll be! Your husband was a big part of your success, and must be a wonderful partner in all things.

  • Marius August 25, 2017 at 23:46

    I am interested in the “earthshine” image where you captured the moon’s surface during totality.
    Did you have to do something special for that shot, like ‘bracketing’ (multiple exposures)? If not, what were the (approximate) camera settings?

    BTW, I admire your professional approach and planning!

  • Cheryl Brickey August 25, 2017 at 13:41

    Beautiful photography! Luckily we (in SC) were in the path to totality so we did not have to travel. I found the eclipse to be simply amazing and am planning on traveling to the next one (7 years from now).

  • Carol August 25, 2017 at 13:31

    Your trip was well planned and the results are fantastic

  • Patty August 25, 2017 at 10:19

    Your photographs are absolutely amazing. I enjoyed reading about your day getting ready to take these photos. We traveled about 4 hours to watch in a 2 min totality zone. I took the opposite approach – I choose to ignore trying to take any photos and instead went for the experience. It was the quickest 2 minutes ever!

  • Andrea H August 25, 2017 at 07:17

    That was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Glad you were able to take your pictures as they are beautiful. I hope you get the chance to experience another one. Happy sewing! Andrea

  • Janine @ Rainbow Hare August 24, 2017 at 23:44

    That must have been a really exciting adventure, Soma. You and your husband were a great team planning and and driving and rehearsing and your photos are incredible :)

  • Sarah August 24, 2017 at 15:28

    Wow! How fantastic…love the story and the photos. I was so naive, that I thought the 95% totality they we going to have would be almost as good as totality. I mean 95 out of 100 is good unless you’re talking about the sun! I mean really hahaha I laugh at my self. I have a daughter in Greenville S C and they had A totality event there and the difference was amazing.

    Once again great job and thank you for sharing☺

  • Kim Sharman August 24, 2017 at 15:08

    ……..oh dear…..I was completely transfixed by your story and photos that I failed to mention your small bag and pencil case. These of course are beautiful. =)

  • Kim Sharman August 24, 2017 at 15:05

    Oh WOW oh WOW!! What dedication, what planning to produce your brilliant photos Soma. All are simply breathtaking but the final one of the Solar Eclipse from the beginning to the end is sublime! You and your husband are an excellent team. Regarding you and he missing out on the actual viewing of this once in a lifetime event, that is sad but you wouldn’t have these awesome photos if you had. Your photography skills are beyond amazing!

  • Sherry of createology August 24, 2017 at 12:59

    Thank you so very much for sharing your amazing and beautiful photos of the Eclipse. I missed it in person and on recorded TV. I am in awe of your trip. Your husband also has my Thank Yous. I do hope you were able to enjoy your drive home. Eclipse Bliss…<3

  • Dixie August 24, 2017 at 11:18

    A wonderful set of eclipse photos, Soma!
    Glad you had a lovely trip. Thanks for sharing.

  • krislovesfabric August 24, 2017 at 11:09

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos, they are the best I have seen, wow…just WOW!! :) We were 86% here and I enjoyed viewing it through a welding helmet, ha! E had the glasses at school. I am looking forward to 2024 and maybe a chance to see the totality. Love your bag set but I can see why you didn’t have time for sketches…looks like you and your husband used your time very wisely, indeed. How large are you going to mount your photos? I’ll bet they make a truly phenomenal display.

  • Sandy August 24, 2017 at 10:54

    Amazing photos, Soma! You were on a mission, and you did not fail. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to ” view in the moment” next time around (2024?)

    Sadly, we were fogged in on the central coast, and missed the whole thing. Sigh ~

  • Kim August 24, 2017 at 10:43

    Wow, Soma, what an epic adventure you undertook, and what an amazing team effort! The photos you were able to take are amazing though, and worth the practice and rehearsal. Hopefully you will both get to see another total eclipse, and enjoy seeing it directly.

  • Caryn August 24, 2017 at 10:43

    Wonderful photos! Thanks to you and your husband. We had cloud cover, so even though we were in the 72% coverage area, there was nothing to see. I hope you got to enjoy the landscape on the way home.

  • Paulette August 24, 2017 at 09:39

    I concur with Paige, your photos are amazing. And thank you for sharing your incredible experience and photos.

  • Paige @ Quilted Blooms August 24, 2017 at 07:43

    Soma, your photos are amazing! Here in SC we was in totality also. I didn’t even attempt to photograph, I just enjoyed the moment and knew there would be awesome photos out there and I was right! Thank you for sharing these and your experience.

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