Solar Eclipse Road Trip, Here We Come!

Solar eclipse photography

Solar eclipse October 2014

I can’t wait to get on the road to shoot the Great American Eclipse!

The path of the moon’s shadow, where the total eclipse will be visible, goes right across the United States.  If you’re not directly in that path a partial eclipse will be visible if you have proper viewing glasses that block the most harmful wavelengths of light.  But people who have experienced totality say there’s nothing quite like it, and you should get to the path if you can.

So where should you go?  Bear in mind that totality lasts 2-3 minutes, so if you have multiple routes to take, weather can be a consideration.  The site GreatAmericanEclipse has suggested ten of the better spots across the country.  They also have state by state maps showing the path of the eclipse across the country, with lines to show the approximate duration of totality depending upon where in that path you are.

Sky and Telescope Magazine suggests a similar Top 10 Places to View the Solar Eclipse.  Another map by Xavier Jubier has superimposed the path of the earth’s shadow on an interactive Google map in case you want to find a place a little less promoted.

Crowds are expected to be record-breaking along the path of the solar eclipse coming up August 21.  Many areas are trying to implement temporary traffic control plans in the narrow path of the moon’s shadow.  I hear that even porta-potty rentals are in short supply as communities try to cope with the crowds.  Fortunately I’ll be bringing my own facilities with me!

You may thank that Jackson, Wyoming sounds like an attractive place to catch the eclipse, but the sun will be south, not west towards the Tetons when the eclipse peaks.  The Jackson Hole Astronomy Club did extensive research with local meteorologists on data from the 2005 – 2015 and determined that just about anywhere else within a 3 mile driving radius had better odds of clear weather.  I’ll be staying near there, but eclipse day is expected to be the busiest day ever for the area, so traffic jams and parking issues could seriously affect viewing plans, and I have plans to exit the area if the crowds look too daunting or the weather forecast turns bad.

If that all sounds like too much risk or hassle to be worth the trip, no problem, there’s a tool that can help you determine how much of an eclipse will be visible wherever you are on that day.

Thank you +Capital Ford for getting the +Ford Motor Company-remanufactured engine into my Ford F-350 truck ASAP so we can stake our claim to a great shooting location!  As of August 4 it’s not going to be back in time to leave this weekend, but they assure me that it’ll be done by Monday or Tuesday.  Fingers crossed!
I’ll make a separate post on viewing and photography, including some of the products I’ve bought for the trip.

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23 thoughts on “Solar Eclipse Road Trip, Here We Come!

  1. +John Getchel I'm hoping to shoot within sight of the Tetons if my Ford is repaired in time! I authorized service on June 29 and the remanufactured long block has been in the shop for a week or two, so no doubt they'll have it done shortly!

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  3. I can't wait to see your shots, I'm sure they will be great.

    I'm winging it. I took at PTO day on Monday and plan on heading north on Sunday. I have no location definitive or lodging as my plan was to see what the weather forecasts were and adjust some (if it even matters) based on that. I will have my truck and Eno, so I can sleep pretty much anywhere in my truck or preferably hang my Eno. Hopefully I can avoid some crowds by heading out on Sunday. I may end up wishing I planned something more definitive, but either way I'm mostly interested in just experiencing it over getting some amazing photos of it. I did order a solar filter for my camera, but mostly want it be in the 100% path for the experience. I plan on have both bodies so I can do a wide timelapse as well as some closer shots.

  4. Hey +David R Robinson I'm not sure being in the low country will be best for observing and shooting. I'm thinking being in the mountains with a 360 view might be better. If you're game perhaps I can join you in the mountains. But Like you I have no plans for a specific location.

  5. That would be awesome +John Getchel​ I'd much rather have someone with me to enjoy it over being solo. The center of the path is just north of Clayton (where we went when you were here). I was thinking of going somewhere in that area. I'll PM you so we don't hijack +Jeff Sullivan​'s post with our discussion.

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