Me eclipsing in Mackay Idaho on August 21, 2017. The skies were clear but somewhat smoky. Forest fires were burning to the north and the wind was carrying the smoke down the Lost River Valley. The Sun’s elevation at totality was high enough that the smoke did not impair the view. The small Mackay crowd was somewhat blasé as the Moon slowly covered the Sun’s disk. Many probably thought this was another over-hyped event: then totality hit. People started screeching and Oh My God’ing. Spontaneous cheers erupted, some applauded, while others frantically pointed and hopped in place. A flock of pigeons took flight and raced for their roost. After the shortest two minutes and thirteen seconds ever the Sun burst forth and one guy yelled: “Do it again!” Later while waiting in line to watch the Moon back off the Sun’s disk through a telescope with a Hydrogen Alpha filter one fellow remarked. “I’d read about shadow chasers: people that travel around the world to see total eclipses. I thought that was crazy, until today!” There is no substitute for totality: it is absolutely better than sex. Losing your totality virginity is far more memorable than your plain old virginity.
I didn’t try and photograph my first total solar eclipse but this time I fired off a few 300mm handheld telephoto shots just to see what might come up. The result was better than I expected.
Attempting to take cell phone pictures of the eclipse by covering the phone camera with eclipse glasses. I tried this myself but the results were pretty awful. The iPhone 7’s focus software is not optimized for such conditions and couldn’t get a sharp focus. I had better luck in 2012 on an annular eclipse with an iPhone 4. Given the number of cell phones pointed at the eclipse, I’m sure some got decent shots.