On Monday a total solar eclipse passed over the United States for the first time in almost 100 years. Needless to say, we Americans were rather excited.
I had actually planned for this particular day back in 2007 when I started out as a freelance photographer. My goal was to get a hotel just outside Nashville, Tennessee then stay all weekend. After the eclipse i wanted to head down to Ruby Falls before journeying home. But, due to several life changes, I had to scrap my plans and opt for an alternate route.
We decided to set off Sunday night to beat some of the traffic. We settled on Hopkinsville, Kentucky as our viewing destination. After almost an entire night of driving, we settled in at a rest stop for a nap and to freshen up.
This was Twyla’s first out of state trip and the longest car ride she’s ever been on. Even though I had slowly prepared her for long trips like this, I was still a little nervous about how she would do.
The first night she barely slept. Her German Shepherd side took over while I was napping and she diligently stayed by my side to protect me.
After seeing the high volume of people at the rest stops and the traffic, we decided we didn’t want to go to Hopkinsville. Luckily, I had prepared for this and had already looked up a few smaller towns from which we could see the total eclipse. Ultimately, we chose to go with Fearsville, Kentucky hoping we could find a small area to stop to watch the eclipse then head home.
I think one of the worst parts of this trip was that nearly everywhere we stopped didn’t have a public restroom and if they did there was a huge line to get in. Some places were encouraging men to go outside if they could.
The closer we got to our final destination, the less places there were to park. So when I saw a small church with just a few cars parked in the lot, I decided to stop there.
A friend of mine point out the humor in our chosen location; we were in a town called Fearsville, parked between a church and a cemetery on a dead end road during a total solar eclipse. I’m pretty sure there is a horror movie out there that starts this way.
Sadly, I do not currently own a lens powerful enough to really capture the true beauty of an eclipse (or any celestial body). I actually used the same lens I bought in 2007 to take these photos. Yep, I used a 10 year old lens.
Honestly, the eclipse was not like what I had read about. Just before the eclipse the world around us had a much cooler hue. I think the best way to describe it is that it looked how some scary movies look. The blueish tint where you can’t quite tell if they meant for it to be night or day. It wasn’t quite the same as a sunrise or sunset either because we didn’t have the warm glow from the low sun.
As we entered totality it felt a lot more like sunset, during those few moments just after the sun dips below the horizon. Even though we were in an area pretty void of light pollution, it did not get nearly dark enough for us to see any stars in the sky. In fact, it was a rather comfortable dimness.
I didn’t spend much time trying to take the perfect pictures. Considering this was my first solar eclipse and I did not have the proper equipment to really make it count, I decided to live in the moment more.
Some articles claimed that animals may act differently. We kept Twyla in the shade under tinted glass during the first and final stages of the eclipse to protect her eyes. During totality, we let her out to explore a bit and she didn’t really seem to care one way or the other. She tried to look up a couple of times but over all didn’t seem too phased by it.
After totality we didn’t have time to waste, I needed to get home as soon as possible for work. So, I gathered up my camera gear and we gave Twyla a quick walk and potty break then set off North.
Thanks to a series of construction and the rush of people attempting to leave Kentucky all at the same time, our trip back took four hours longer than anticipated. We were quite exhausted and I was running on only three hours of very broken sleep and a lot of caffeine.
Poor Twyla was so excited about our trip she simply didn’t want to sleep. She would keep nodding off then wake up moments later. We kept trying to encourage her to sleep, but she’s half Husky so she’s stubborn!
Once we got near the end of Kentucky she finally fell asleep. For the past few days she’s been a bit more tired and has been resting a lot, recovering from her first long trip. She did very well and even seemed to enjoy traveling (which is wonderful news for me!).
Nothing went as planned for this trip, but I am very happy I got to see this event none the less! I am looking forward to the next one in 2024 and I hope things will go a bit smoother next time around. I also hope to be equipped with better camera gear.