Last month's total solar eclipse that traveled across the United States has been tagged the most watched eclipse in history. Well, all I can tell you for certain is that it got this rarely excitable guy away from the computer and out into nature to experience it firsthand. Truly, that is a phenomenon as rare as the eclipse itself. Normally, if the madding crowd is heading one direction, I'm frequently inclined to go the other. Not this time. No, no, this wasn't just some Main Street parade. It was a rare sequence of events created from far beyond the realm of commerce and theatrics.
Although Los Angeles was not in the path of totality, there was to be enough of the sun hidden to be something to behold. The very first eclipse photo that begins this feature is nothing short of a miracle. Actually the entire handful of eclipse photos I came away with are all miracles.
Whereas eclipses are known to be harbingers of things being different afterwards, I wanted to capture images of the eclipse that were in and of themselves different. I didn't want that same welding helmet silhouette view that has surely been posted more than five million times by now. I wanted to capture an eclipsed sun over downtown Los Angeles from the park hillside I chose as my post. I wanted the surrounding Hollywood Hills to be the backdrop to what was going on in the sky.
Despite my preparations, though, that blazing sun beamed just as brightly as ever into the camera yielding just another star-pointed sun burst in the sky as it ever does. But, alas, a series of shots during the setup phase -- while cloud cover threatened to conceal the entire event -- turned out to be the magic formula to getting the raw lens shots that I feature in this segment.
As is so often the case with creative projects and photography in particular, so-called 'mistakes' and the unanticipated yield some of the best pieces. Indeed, there was a strange dimness about the photos I shot during the eclipse. I expected a dimmer sun, but the way conditions translated through the camera have an almost emotional quality.
The two vertical photos anchored by the downtown Los Angeles skyline that I'm showing are presented at the exact exposure as originally shot. (And believe me, with my art director DNA, it was all I could do not to crank these mothers up a few notches in Photoshop.)
I find these actual eclipse-time image results to be somewhat haunting. Walking around under the eclipsed sun indeed felt different. The sky itself felt strained, almost. I find these photos convey the atmosphere of the event beyond anything I hoped to capture.
According to astrology, eclipses indicate a time of potentially sweeping changes and my life has certainly shown some of my most notable chapters beginning or ending near the time of an eclipse (if not precisely during one). If it isn't obvious what such changes might entail in your own life, a good rule of thumb is to look at what you were doing differently during the eclipse period.
The publishing of my two books which reveal ways of living the life you want from a place of greater effectiveness and ease were at the epicenter of the publishing process at the time of the eclipse. (Watch this space for news, updates, website, etc. Better yet, subscribe for updates at the bottom of the page.) But as far as horizon-widening actions that I took on actual eclipse day, I really wasn’t convinced I’d done anything of note. Other than get out and see the eclipse itself. Turns out, though, that just may have been enough.
Before I continue, I've decided it may be helpful to share something I experienced during the eclipse that was disconcerting to me.
Already having an escalating issue with broken blood vessels in my eyes in 2017, the day of the eclipse gave rise to such a terrible vessel tear that the entire eyeball filled to bulging with so much blood it was almost black, prompting me to go to the emergency room.
Basically, my eyeball was eclipsed during the eclipse.
This occurrence rattled me. It felt like some ominous warning from beyond. I have since found, though, that a number of other individuals, many with humanitarian occupations, experienced adverse physical conditions during the eclipse. Some quite dire. If you are among those who fell ill, I hope that sharing this phenomenon with you now helps release any unproductive feelings about it. More shall be revealed, if it hasn’t already.
In my own case, my eye looked so horrific I wore sunglasses everywhere to keep from freaking everybody out. This then made me self-conscious about looking like a Hollywood diva in sunglasses at dinner. But those fears were rapidly allayed as I began to find people were actually approaching me to begin conversations in the days following the eclipse. I have to tell you, such a thing has simply not happened during my years living in L.A.
Day after day following the eclipse revealed someone new interested in connecting to one degree or another. Then it began to hit me that interacting with new people was the different thing I did during the eclipse.
Getting out to witness this event with others in the neighborhood just possibly may have opened a new doorway in connection with others. And if that's true for me, I can only imagine how many of you might be experiencing similarly improved interactions.
The very ethereal 'purple haze' photo shown here is among the miracles snapped on that August 21 day. It was also among the impromptu joining of hearts and minds I experienced during this once in a lifetime event.
A young woman jogging along stopped and offered to let me view the event in progress through her eclipse viewer. After I took a look, she suggested I put it over the camera lens. I snapped a few shots but really didn't think I got anything. I was quite elated to discover this one in the bunch. Yes, it's approaching the welding helmet look but there's an artful, impressionistic thing going on that creates a very unique feel.
Thank you, eclipse jogger!
As the actual event recedes into the memory books, just maybe the images I'm sharing this month will serve to bring you back to that pivotal day. Take a few moments to consider how are things different for you now. As in my own case, even the tiniest shifts can gain surprising momentum.
I feel very fortunate to have been in the general path of this total solar eclipse, to have witnessed the event, and to have come away with photographic documentation. Other than natural disasters and catastrophes, there are very few things capable of bringing the entire globe together -- at least of an intriguing and uplifting nature. Eclipses and deep space events are just about it. That's about as big a deal as I can pinpoint for having joined in during this rare moment under the sun.
Thank you for viewing and reading =] Rob
Interested in capturing or creating images like the photos I've featured in this segment?