Are You Gonna Take Photos of the Solar Eclipse?

 Total Solar Eclipse, GA, - SC border, Tagaloo State Park

When I told friends and family that Sharon and I were planning a trip to North Georgia to view the total eclipse, most responded with this question: "Are you gonna photograph it?"

Truth is, I never even considered pointing my camera at the sun during the total eclipse. I figured astronomers had an advantage when it came to capturing the corona in all it's glory. (Plus, I didn't want to risk damaging my eyes or camera gear.)

So my response to their questions, generally went something like this: "Nope. I'll be photographing the people watching the eclipse." I'm a photojournalist at heart, and people are at the heart of all great photographs, at least in the eyes of a photojournalist. :)

 Total Solar Eclipse, GA, - SC border, Tagaloo State Park

One of my favorite photographs from my years as a photojournalist for the St. Petersburg Times is a picture of three elementary students with their heads in boxes they had made to view a partial eclipse. (Too bad I couldn't find it to post here.)

So, I was pretty sure I could find some fun, storytelling photos during the total eclipse.

 Total Solar Eclipse, GA, - SC border, Tagaloo State Park
 Total Solar Eclipse, GA, - SC border, Tagaloo State Park

What I couldn't anticipate was the photo opportunities that would present themselves during totality.

As the sky darkened, I decided that I wanted to document the "sunset" colors that appeared on the horizon when the sun disappeared behind the moon. And to tell the story of the day, I would include a silhouette of someone n the foreground.

 Total Solar Eclipse, GA, - SC border, Tagaloo State Park

I saw this photographer and snapped this image. But, I knew I wanted a photo with a little more visual interest and narrative information.

 Total Solar Eclipse, GA, - SC border, Tagaloo State Park

That's when I saw this group of folks looking up, silhouetted against the sunset colors on the horizon.

I liked the fact that you can see one person taking off his eclipse glasses. The only time you can take off the glasses during an eclipse is in totality, so showing the glasses coming off told the story. 

I did take time to look up at the beautiful circle of light surrounding the moon, known as the corona, glowing around the dark circle covering the sun.
— Cindy
 Total Solar Eclipse, GA, - SC border, Tagaloo State Park

Two minutes and 10 seconds goes by very fast. And no sooner than I had time to snap a few images and look up at the corona, the sun began to peek out from behind the moon.

An eerie light, something like the golden hour after sunrise and before sunset--but not quite--bathed the peninsula where a group of campers had gathered to watch.

 Total Solar Eclipse, GA, - SC border, Tagaloo State Park

After a few more snaps, including this one of a fellow using eclipse glasses for his eyes and his cell phone, I headed back to our friends (Chris and Kathy's) camper to cool off.

On the way, I discovered these tiny eclipses projected onto the red clay. I took a few photos of the pattern the projections made on the clay, and then decided I needed a human element in the image. So there I am. 

 Total Solar Eclipse, GA, - SC border, Tagaloo State Park

All in all, a great day.

Will I photograph the next total eclipse? The answer is still "No." But not, just no to photos of the sun. 

Next time, I'll turn off my photojournalist mode. And instead of spending those precious two minutes figuring out how best to include people in photographs that tell the grand story, I'm going to put my camera down and simply experience the awe.

Looking for an Atlanta Photojournalist to document an event or tell a visual story for you? Give us a call at 404-298-6263.

 

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Cindy Brown

I'm an Atlanta wedding photographer who takes soulful, quirky and honest photos ...

I'm also an adventurous traveler and all-round nerd. I love to hike with my beagle/cattle dog Roux and best friend/spouse.

I was born in Atlanta, moved around a lot--30 cities and 5 states--and then came back.

After graduating from the Art Institute of Atlanta, I took a job at asmall newspaper in south Georgia, where I photographedhospital teas, pecan farmers, and beauty queens.

I photographed a biker funeral, death penalty protests andTed Bundy while interning with the Associated Press.

While a photographer for two dailies in Florida, I photographed Ronald Reagan, a train derailment and the dedication of a screened-in porch.

An unexpected life turn took me to Vermont where I fell in love with Bernie Sanders and on to Indiana, where I edited photos for a major daily, and nerded out getting a master’s and PhD.

After teaching photojournalism at colleges and universities in Florida, Indiana and Mississippi, I returned to Atlanta to earn myfifth degree--a Master's of Divinity.

My passion for storytelling with my camera and my interest in religious diversity led my to the field of wedding photojournalism.

I have documented weddings large and small, Unitarian and Pagan, indoors and out, Christian and Muslim, in backyards and in churches. The most exotic wedding I have photographed took place in Mexico and was officiated by aMayan shaman.

When I'm not photographing weddings, portraits or corporate events, I work on personal photo projects, visit friends in amemory-care home, and volunteer at a recovery center.