I’ve heard of eclipses all my life– lunar eclipse, solar eclipse, partial eclipse, total eclipse. I never thought much of them. Then, I watched the 2017 total solar eclipse from the center line. I was in total twilight for over two minutes, and it was amazing! Now I’m planning for the Total Solar Eclipse 2019 in South America.

It was a pleasant morning in August 2017. We’d set up on top of a butte in rural Idaho, fairly close to the South Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Arriving a couple of hours in advance allowed us plenty of time to park the car (we had no idea if there might be tens of thousands of other people there) hike up the butte, scope out the area and set up cameras. Then we had time for chatting with new friends– fellow eclipse watchers who had come from around the world.

The hill was covered with thousands of people including locals with their kids and photographers from around the world, including Asia, Europe, and the USA. We all compared the printed designs on our special eclipse glasses. The ones I’d bought in the USA were pretty bland, while the Germans glasses had ‘2017’ and the American flag.

A lot of people were just hanging out and not especially excited about this rare natural event. They were just along for the ride with someone who thought it would be fun to see.

And, then in the middle of a sunny, blue-sky day, the sky darkened. Without a cloud in sight, people began calling out in surprise, yelling, oohing and ahhing. Nature had impressed every one of us.

The sight of a deep blue twilight sky in every direction is so different than morning or evening, where the east or west is bright. Since the sun was overhead, the gorgeous blue color was evenly spread in every direction.

Then, someone’s phone app warned us to put our eclipse glasses back on, as the sun would emerge again in twelve seconds, eleven, ten, nine. I rushed to look everywhere again before the world returned to regular daylight. Then, glasses on. It was the fastest 2 minutes of my life.

When and where is the next total solar eclipse?

NASA has all the answers! July 2, 2019 in South America.

Total Solar Eclipse 2017 United States

What to Bring

Eclipse Glasses for Your Eyes – For a total solar eclipse, you can burn your eyes and go blind by looking at the sun when it’s not completely covered by the moon. These special glasses have lenses that are extremely dark, so your eyes are protected. You take them off only during totality, which is when the sun is completely covered.

Eclipse Glasses for Your Camera – If you’ll be photographing the sun before or after the few minutes of totality, your lens will also need it’s own ‘glasses’, or you could burn the camera sensor (i.e. kill your camera). You have to get the same special filter as you use on your glasses. This is not an ND or polarizing filter. It’s the level that welders use. I bought one with a cheap cardboard frame. You can also make your own using welding glass.

Snacks and Water – You’ll be waiting a while, so bring drinks and food.

Camera and Tripod – Bring spare batteries and memory cards, too. You don’t want to run out during this event! Triple check the batteries are charged and the memory cards are empty. Maybe even quadruple check. And, don’t forget to take them with you!


Bookmark this Post to Read Later… Alligator!

Have you ever seen a Total Solar Eclipse? It's an amazing and uncommon natural event. Learn when and where to see one! And, what to bring along.

Read More

You probably know the Rule of Thirds. Activate the grid on your cameras to make life easier!

Click here to learn about polarizing filters and click here for tripods.

Heading to Machu Picchu? Here’s my photography itinerary for MP and on the nearby town of Ollantaytambo. And, here’s my camera gear packing list.