My family and I recently traveled to south central Nebraska to visit our good friends on their farm, and also to catch the big solar eclipse. When I tell folks that our summer vacation has us going to Nebraska, they often throw a questioning look my way, but I’m quick to defend. Not only do we get to see and spend time with our friends, but there is something uniquely beautiful about that much agricultural life and the big, wide open skies in that part of the United States. I’m sure my fellow Viewfinder and Nebraskan, Meghan will be nodding her head to this one. So, I not only got to do some Nebraska photography, but there was also this crazy big celestial event to see and try to capture.
I knew I wasn’t going to be trying to get the great sequential panoramas of the phases of the eclipse, or to even get a decent-to-good shot of the eclipse at totality. There are so many who are better equipped for that, for whom it’s their passion, and who aren’t also trying to make sure their three-year-old doesn’t manage to accidentally blind himself. Instead, I tried to do what I could to photograph a little bit of what was going on around me, to get our gathered group in some kind of array, and also to not take pictures, and to just soak in that crazy sky, the amazing infiniteness of space, and the scope of the whole event.
We left and started heading back home shortly after totality and all along the way, people were sitting with their friends and neighbors in lawn chairs on porches, in fields, and pulled off on the sides of roads. And then, of course, we were stuck in eclipse traffic. Truly, huge traffic jams on small two lane roads in the middle of rural Nebraska. Only the sun could do that.
What does it say, I wonder, about us as a people that we migrate thousands and millions of of us as the sun and moon cut a path across the country? What does it say about the power of wonder and awe that those two minutes of darkness and the surrounding light can move so many both literally and figuratively? What does it say about us as light chasers and as viewfinders – we believe, after all, in the transcendent power of really good light. And I have to say, I don’t know that I’ve seen better light than that. I hope it lives in my skin for a while.
All the best,