Eclipses and ellipsis… Working in the Shadow.
This August’s eclipse, only partial here in Dodge City, has been hailed the most documented celestial event in history. For me it was somewhat of a dim light at the end of the tunnel. Certainly a welcome point of focus, historically eclipses although difficult personally have offered great opportunities to share my work with a much larger audience. I promised myself come what may I would record the event in a meaningful fashion somehow, even if I couldn’t see it. The only previous solar eclipse I’d captured was a lucky shot due to partial clouds, so that’s what I hoped for this time. ‘You pray for rain, but don’t want it from a storm’.
August 21st opened mostly clear here on Van Isle. I ran around in circles, stacked my filters, tried out a pinhole attachment, panicked, smoked, thought, let go of my attachment to the outcome… and then a few hazy clouds moved in, giving me intermittent density allowing me to shoot unblinded. I worked with this method shooting manually squinting hard throughout the duration of the eclipse. It’s somewhat akin to a saying in the film industry ‘god’s 216’ referring to a type of diffusion cloth rendered unnecessary by even cloud cover. The veil was certainly thinner then.
Once I managed to get a few decent frames together I calmed down and was able to enjoy the most totality that we experienced with my wife and son, the eerie quality of the light captivated us all. The sky was a burning portal offering both painful visions of the past but also reassurance of the potential for renewal as well. The sun’s tongue sharpened by the pumice moon as she licked his yellow suit. I hid under an old wool blanket to put together a composite image and share it with the world, managing to garner and audience of ten thousand which I considered an acceptable baseline for now. As I said it has been a dark time, but I have been in the crucible to try and refine my work. What has been for years a process of re-clarification has allowed me to focus on having faith in what is coming next, and my ability to capture the essence of it, even in the dark.