Photographing the spiritual

The eclipse shot I wish I got…

I’ve experienced partial eclipses before but nothing prepared me for the experience of the Great American Total Eclipse yesterday. The car ride back home from Madras Oregon to the California Bay Area was grueling but I would turn around and do it all over again the next day if it were possible. No amount of reading or looking at pictures prepared me for seeing the eclipse with my own eyes. This leads me to ponder how does one photograph the spiritual?

Below is my photo of the Diamond Ring or Bailey’s Beads effect when beads of the sun’s last light shines through the rugged lunar landscape.
Diamond ring total eclipse
The “Diamond Ring” photographed at the last moment of totality.
(ISO 100, F22, 1/400, Nikon D7000, 200mm)

While I am proud of the above image because it’s what I aimed to capture it was only after actually seeing the eclipse with my own eyes I realized it’s not the photo I wish I got – nor have I seen one yet that quite captures it or the experience.

How to photograph an experience?

Again it just didn’t capture it!

For me it was the gift after the diamond ring when the moon suddenly snapped into position and the soft etherial blueish white strands of the corona appeared as if it was the eye of God suddenly upon me. This image by NASA came close but it did not pick up the blueish white colors I was seeing.  I was so humbled and overwhelmed at the same time. The corona stretched so far and wide almost appeared as if it were undulating. There was a hush as the temperature dropped 17 degrees and people started to scream and some cried and dogs barked and some howled as the total eclipse gazed upon us for 2 minutes and 11 seconds. Then as suddenly as it snapped in position it suddenly slipped away leaving us all longing for more.

Here is a video my mother took of my family and I enjoying the eclipse. You can see the light suddenly change and then everyone cheering and the dogs in the background. You can also see from my mothers expression the moment she sees the total eclipse 🙂

Even though I didn’t get the shot I described above I am glad I listened for once to the advice to not fiddle with my camera. I would have missed lifting my unfiltered eyes to experience the feeling of looking directly into God’s eye with nothing in between us.

I’m hooked!

3 thoughts on “Photographing the spiritual

  • August 23, 2017 at 6:16 am
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    I think you summed up the experience perfectly!

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