Solar eclipses don't come around all that often but on August 21st 2017, I was only 3.5 hours away from experiencing an event I will never forget!
A good friend and I set out early in the morning and made our way to Arthur Nebraska to capture this once in a lifetime event. About half way there, we encountered a significant amount of fog and I began to have some doubts. With the way conditions were, I didn't think we would get anything and if cloud cover was bad, we would end up capturing Lake McConaughy and just leaving it at that.
Once we arrived in Ogallala Nebraska, we were greeted with partly cloudy skies and we faced a bit of a dilemma. Do we stay the course and go to Arthur Nebraska or do we take a chance and just head to North Platte? Both cities were in the path of totality and weather reports had indicated that both cities would have partly cloudy skies. Given the weather conditions, it was a toss up so we decided that we would just stay the course and head to Arthur.
As we made our way towards Arthur Nebraska, we encountered traffic which slowly got worse and worse the closer we got. About a mile away from Arthur, we parked at Crusty's Feed Shop and setup. Given the significance of the solar eclipse, there were a lot of people there who wanted to witness it firsthand so we were definitely not short on company.
As the solar eclipse began, I started to notice the temperature drop and the light surrounding us became more and more ominous as it progressed. Many others were able to capture the progression of the eclipse with their cameras since they had solar filters on their lenses. I did not have a solar filter and I was fine just capturing totality and the quintessential "me too" shot of the diamond. As the eclipse progressed, the skies cleared up and you could definitely feel the temperature drop. It felt like sunset all around us. As we inched closer and closer to totality, a puffy cloud rolled in and covered the sun. Luckily, it wasn't a thick cloud so it gave me the opportunity to shoot the "crescent" through the cloud without a filter so I lucked out in that regard.
Then totality hit and the sky went dark as if it was early dawn. You could see stars in the sky and it was an eerie feeling seeing the darkness mid day. After (2) minutes of being in twilight, the light from the sun began to shine and the temperature began to rise. It was all over. After witnessing a solar eclipse first hand, it was truly a phenomenal experience and I'm glad I was able to come home with some decent shots.
Looking back at the experience, I only have one regret. I wish I would have taken a few moments to take it all in instead of focusing all my energy in getting good shots. Lesson learned and perhaps in 7 years, I will make the trip out to Texas and take the "photography hat" off and just enjoy it like everyone else.