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I had this event on my calendar since 2012 or so. The time was dwindling down from years to months, to weeks, to days. I was focused on the weather constantly in the day’s heading into the event. The plan was to head southwest to Nebraska, but as the weather looked more iffy than good, I changed my gears and headed South to the Southern tip of Illinois.
The town of DuQuion would be my spot.
I didn’t have the days I often like to have to scout. Though any landscape or object I’d put in the foreground would have to be done as a realistic composite; the sun was over 60° + elevation at totality.
I found a great grain elevator to utilize as my foreground subject. Even though I knew I’d have to composite my visioned eclipse series into the scene I wanted to share a wider view to give perspective to what I was about to witness.
… I was satisfied with my spot so next I found my car camping spot and ate some dinner before ‘trying’ to sleep in 90° heat. Trains passed by also it seemed every five minutes but eventually the sheep counted into the thousands and I drifted off to deep slumber.
The next morning I had my coffee and made final plans … as much as one could expect or attempt with no prior solar eclipse experience!
My spot soon welcomed the company of a group of science teachers from Chicago and a few other neat people. Someone’s son played the National Anthem on his violin! It was special.
…. watching through eclipse glasses, the bite in the sun became bigger as the moon edged in closer to hide it.
I had my wide angle setup for a series with a 15 stop ND filter attached. Of course I couldn’t look directly to see where exactly to point the camera (or risk blindness), so I estimated as I do with other celestial events that I can’t see… this one was trying as I had no idea if I was getting it or not. … in the end I did!
Finally, the moon sat directly in front of the sun, and there was no doubt about that time. I wondered if I’d know. But I knew. The sky turned twilight blue (not completely dark) and it seemed as if time for that minute plus stood still…, even though it passed all too quickly.
A rooster crowed and before I could take it in further the light swept back over the land.
In those small moments, the grandiosity of the sight was humbling and powerful. The only words to me that can adequately say what I felt, saw, and heard were,
“Be still and know that I am God.” PSALM 46:10