Last week, Natalie and I set out to do what millions of people did ... we took our kids, along with a friend, Jonathan Gardner, who we met through #mitchellsjourney to Madras Oregon to witness the total eclipse.
We rented a van (almost a small bus) and went on a long drive to the coast of Oregon at first, then journeyed inland to an arid town (Madras) in hopes of clear skies and a glimpse of an astronomical wonder.
Along the way, we stopped to take photos of the Oregon landscape.
Our First Adventure, A Waterfall & the Ocean
Preparing for the Eclipse
We camped at SolarFest (local fairgrounds in the town of Madras) but then went to Solar Town (a plot of farm land just outside Madras) to see the actual eclipse.
Great shot, Jonathan!
Wyatt enjoying a pineapple smoothie
Another great shot by Jonathan of the campgrounds a the fairgrounds
Solar Town - The Place We Photographed the Eclipse
As the Eclipse Began
As the sun began to hide behind the moon, I was overwhelmed with a sense of humankind's utter nothingness against the backdrop of an infinite universe. It was a humbling to witness the majesty of two celestial bodies interact. As small as I felt, my feelings about Mitch loomed enormous.
A Moment for Mitch
As the Sky darkened I thought to myself how much Mitch would've loved to see what I saw. I know there are people who will say, "he was there with you" ... but he wasn't ... not in the way I wanted him with me.
So, before I began to take in the eclipse, I dedicated a small prayer in my heart so I might always remember my little boy and re-commit to be nice to others and be grateful for life.
The Eclipse Closing In
Here are a few photos of our experience and what we captured. Admittedly, our photos of the eclipse itself are unremarkable, inasmuch as they look like everyone else's photos. But these were our pictures and we were excited to take them.
The Moment of Totality, a 360° Sunset
At the moment of totality, we were surrounded by a 360° sunset. Mitch, having loved sunsets the way he did, would've been fascinated. I'm putting together a little video of the experience that I'll post shortly.
Unfortunately, this panoramic photo is blurry - but it still serves to show how dark the sky became during the 2+ minutes of totality.
The Sun's Corona
Our Favorite Photo of The Eclipse
The last photo in this series is my favorite. I took a burst of photos as the sun began to break over the edge of the moon and that photo represents one of them. Captured in that series show multiple sun flares. It was amazing to witness.
The morning we returned home, Natalie and I went to our cousin's home whose family was watching Marlie for us. THis was the look on her face after our being gone for 5 days. It was as if she were saying, "Dad, is that you? Where have you been?"
This little pup who gave Mitch great comfort now serves our family in a similar way.
It was a fun adventure and I am so glad we saw it through. Wyatt and Ethan were anxious to photograph the journey so they could make videos and photo journals of their own. Jonathan (our family friend) and Natalie both took photos like a paparazzi.
I think it's safe to say, if nobody else on this planet shot the eclipse save our family, we'd have had it covered.