Back in May I attended a small photography workshop at Pictureline for the Upcoming 2017 Solar Eclipse. I was told the eclipse would be a visceral and primal experience, unlike anything I’ve ever felt. Myself and most of the people I’ve grown up around have not experienced an eclipse in their lifetime, and I really had no idea what to expect. I’ll be honest, the large majority of time leading up to the eclipse I was not overly thrilled nor was I anticipating for some kind of life changing experience. To my pleasant surprise, I was completely wrong! The eclipse was, without doubt, the most incredible thing I’ve experienced.
It was around March when I decided I really wanted to shoot the eclipse and started doing some research as to where I wanted to go, what kind of shot I was going for and how to even photograph an eclipse in the first place. I was very fortunate to have a good friend, Brock Slinger, move up to Bend this year, which is just outside the path of totality. We had made arrangements to shoot the eclipse near Bend in Oregon, and we ended up having a few other of our friends wanting to join us as well. Gary Showalter and I sent it up to Oregon on the afternoon of Saturday the 19th in complete fear of the nightmares we had heard of food shortages, gas price increases and outrageous traffic, but there didn’t even end up being any noticeable difference. We didn’t have to deal with any of that!
We made it to Bend that night with just enough time to get some sleep, and the next day we headed to the wilderness where we’d start planning everything out for the shoot. The area we went to and planned to backpack into ended up being completely serged with people (big surprise) due to it being one of the only wilderness areas still open in the area because of all of the fires, and the smoke was still pretty bad where we were at. We were all slightly spooked because we didn’t want to end up without a plan, and were also afraid that the smoke might affect the eclipse conditions. After a full day of hiking around, hanging out and some sunset photography, we decided we wanted to head to a lake that way right outside the parking area, and we were really hoping it wouldn’t be packed. And get this.. We somehow ended up being the only people at the lake the next morning!
Leading up to the eclipse was actually quite relaxing, and everyone ended up getting a pretty decent grasp on what we’d be doing with our gear during totality. About 20 minutes before totality was when everything started getting eerie – The light was changing, the animals began switching up to their nighttime routines, the lake on the water turned to glass and the temperature ended up dropping about 20 degrees. Before we knew it, it was happening; the moon was eclipsing the sun. TOTALITY! Shutters flying, people howling, all of us cheering – it was euphoria. For me, the time in totality was a full body experience. I couldn’t speak, I was shaking, I was ecstatic and I had a million things rushing through my head. I don’t even know how else to describe the way I felt during that minute and 48 seconds, but damn was that wild.
Everyone in the group had a great time, and we all were lucky enough to come away with some shots. I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to wait another however many years to give that a shot if I screwed it up! Pictured below is our 2017 Eclipse group – Jeff Larson, Anna Ungerman, Brock Slinger, Lindsey Kuehl, Jesse Roos, Gary Showalter and myself.