Annular Solar Eclipse 2023 Photography
The solar eclipse of October 2023 was cutting across some incredible parks in the western United States. Viewing them is rare enough as it is, but to be able to witness it in such a beautiful landscape provided extra incentive.
The only other solar eclipse I've viewed as the one back in 2017 - we traveled down to a bird sanctuary as a family and made a day out of it, even keeping the kids out of their first day of school. It's one of our favorite memories.
This trip would involve a lot more travel, and there's a total eclipse coming next year. So for the annular eclipse, where the moon's disc is smaller than the sun, creating a ring of fire, my middle child was the only one that wanted to travel across the country and potentially need to hike 20 miles through snow to see it.
We originally planned to go to Crater Lake, as the path of totality was predicted to go right overhead. However, the forecast promised clouds as the big day approached, so we had to pivot. Thank goodness for travel insurance!
My backup was in southeastern Utah - Capitol Reef and Canyonlands National Park were both supposed to be in the totality. I grabbed what was likely the last hotel room between the park and my kid and I started our 20 hour trek. We needed every hour, as the camera gear I rented didn't arrive until just before our planned flight.
As an added challenge, I discovered my tripod was missing a screw when we got to Green River and I wanted to get a shot of the sunset for the night before. Perfect!
If it was easy, it wouldn't be worth it.
I hemmed and hawed the night before, but decided on Canyonlands. I knew the picture would be better, but I feared traffic would be worse. I set an alarm for 4am, hoping that would be enough time to get to the spot I wanted. I also knew that if we got stuck, there were more places than in Capitol Reef I could use as a backup.
Turns out, traffic was a breeze. We were one of the first in the park. We went to the White Rim Overlook, but the sun was coming up in just the wrong spot and there wouldn't be a forefround I was happy with. So we started walking.
There was a place I remembered with a view down a canyon and the La Sal Mountains. As we walked the rim, I spotted another spot that would line up great with the White Rim Overlook. As it turns out, that was our best bet.
We set up shop. I got 2 cameras, a time lapse on my phone, and a 2nd phone for info, notes, and other random pics. The whole time, I had my 14 year old helping me, cracking jokes, and enjoying the moon's shadow slide across the sun's disc. I couldn't have asked for a better day.
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