The Great Eclipse of 2017
Hello my friends! It was without question that I would venture out and photograph the eclipse of 2017. So I joined fellow photographer David Robinson in Georgia and traveled to Yonah Mountain. We headed out on Sunday August 20th to reconnoiter the area. It was a 2.2 mile hike with an elevation gain of 1500 feet from the trailhead. Once on the mountain top we meet a young couple who had hiked up earlier in the day bringing a full cooler of beer and wine! Now that's what I call amazing determination!! They had staked out an awesome spot to watch the eclipse!! They planned to camp overnight and invited us to join them in their prime location!! Here's the location on Google Maps:
The bad news was we hadn't planned on staying on the mountain but were planning on hiking back up in the morning. With this invitation we had a decision to make. So we headed back down the hill to find some dinner. During dinner we felt there was no way we were gonna hike back up that night. We returned to the trailhead thinking we would sleep there for the night. But it was not to be! David said he felt he had gotten a second wind and wanted to return to the top to photograph the Milky Way. Not wanting to turn down an opportunity to take pictures I rather reluctantly agreed. It was 9:30 at night before we began our second ascent! But surprisingly even in the dark, encumbered with all our gear, we made it back to the top in about 2 hours which was the about same time it took earlier in the day!!
Once on top we found our camp hosts still awake and enjoying the view. Of course we had to capture it in pictures! Pretty nice eh?
Afterwards we hung our Eno's in the trees and slept. The next morning dawned warm and beautiful with not a cloud in the sky! As the day progressed a steady stream of hikers made it up the mountain and our seemingly private viewing spot gave way to the crowds. Here's what the view looked like as we awaited the shadow of the moon.
As you can see the clouds sprang up with the afternoon heat but did not obscure the sky overhead! And finally the moment we had all been waiting for soon swept across the mountain. I captured the approach of the shadow on video. It was an amazing sight to behold!
After absorbing totality for a moment I jumped to my camera to try and capture the sun's corona. In spite of only having a 280mm focal length I think I got a couple decent shots with some cropping.
After experiencing what it's like to witness a total eclipse I realised that no partial eclipse can ever come close!! Perhaps it's time to start chasing the eclipses wherever they happen!
And finally there was a drone flying around the mountain and David found it on YouTube! It's an awesome view of the mountain and it's really cool to see the shadow from the air. Totality starts around the 11 minute mark but as the drown zooms past the granite ledge earlier in the video (around 6:38) you can see me in my characteristic white sun shirt waving at the drone. We were located in the center along the ledge. Check it out!