Solar Eclipse Trip (Aug 20-25, 2017)

Solar Eclipse Trip 2017

August 20, 2017 (Day 1)

Larry, Mythili and I rented a Ford Expedition and loaded the tent, camera equipment, sleeping bags, and food and started the drive to the town of Madras in Oregon considered to be one of the best spots to experience the solar eclipse. As all the hotels within 50 miles of Madras were sold out years in advance for outrageous prices (heard Madras Red Roof Inn charged $2900/nite with a 4 or 5 nite minimum), we reserved and grabbed a 20’x20′ space at the SolarTown (in a farm field near the Madras Municipal airport) for about $190. We didn’t encounter any major traffic until about 2 miles from the field. Larry pitched the tents with a little bit of support from us.

iPhone Photo
(44.678469, -121.138202)

Cellular networks were so over loaded that we couldn’t successfully send or receive anything other than short messages. Larry and I set up and took a few test shots of the sun to make sure the settings were in place for the eclipse shoot. After dinner, we did a bit of stargazing and went to bed @ 10. Although the temperature dropped to to the high 50s, all had comfortable sleep.

August 21, 2017 (Day 2 – Eclipse Day)

All got up at sunrise and after breakfast, Larry and I setup the camera equipment and by 9am, we were all set for action.

Ready for the Eclipse
iPhone Photo
(44.678469, -121.138202)

The eclipse started at 907am PDT.

Start of the Solar Eclipse (907am)
Nikon D7100; 80-400mm VR Nikkor + TC14II + 16-stop ND Filter; f11; 1/500; ISO 500
(44.678469, -121.138202)
Solar Eclipse (916am)
Nikon D7100; 80-400mm VR Nikkor + TC14II + 16-stop ND Filter; f11; 1/500; ISO 500
(44.678469, -121.138202)
Solar Eclipse (946am)
Nikon D7100; 80-400mm VR Nikkor + TC14II + 16-stop ND Filter; f11; 1/500; ISO 500
(44.678469, -121.138202)
Solar Eclipse (956am)
Nikon D7100; 80-400mm VR Nikkor + TC14II + 16-stop ND Filter; f11; 1/500; ISO 500
(44.678469, -121.138202)
Solar Eclipse (1013am)
Nikon D7100; 80-400mm VR Nikkor + TC14II + 16-stop ND Filter; f11; 1/500; ISO 500
(44.678469, -121.138202)

Starting at about 1012am, it looked and felt like a moonlit night. The temperature dropped about 5 degrees or so. When totality occurred starting at around 1019am, the experience was surreal. No photograph or video can do justice to what we all experienced. It was not totally dark and the sunlight from the edge of the moon was stunning.

Solar Eclipse – Totality (1019am)
Nikon D7100; 80-400mm VR Nikkor + TC14II; f8; 1/40; ISO 1600
(44.678469, -121.138202)

Totality lasted a little over 2 minutes.

Solar Eclipse – Baily’s Beads (1021am)
Nikon D7100; 80-400mm VR Nikkor + TC14II; f8; 1/40; ISO 1600
(44.678469, -121.138202)
Solar Eclipse (1024am)
Nikon D7100; 80-400mm VR Nikkor + TC14II + 16-stop ND Filter; f11; 1/400; ISO 500
(44.678469, -121.138202)
Solar Eclipse (1040am)
Nikon D7100; 80-400mm VR Nikkor + TC14II + 16-stop ND Filter; f11; 1/400; ISO 500
(44.678469, -121.138202)
Solar Eclipse (1106am)
Nikon D7100; 80-400mm VR Nikkor + TC14II + 16-stop ND Filter; f11; 1/400; ISO 500
(44.678469, -121.138202)
Solar Eclipse (1124am)
Nikon D7100; 80-400mm VR Nikkor + TC14II + 16-stop ND Filter; f11; 1/400; ISO 500
(44.678469, -121.138202)
Solar Eclipse Ends (1139am)
Nikon D7100; 80-400mm VR Nikkor + TC14II + 16-stop ND Filter; f11; 1/500; ISO 500
(44.678469, -121.138202)

Here is a composite of the whole eclipse phases:

Solar Eclipse Composite (0907am – 1139am)
Nikon D7100; 80-400mm VR Nikkor + TC14II
(44.678469, -121.138202)

By 1140am, everything was over. We brought down the tents, had lunch, and loaded all our stuff back into the SUV. We started driving to Crater Lake in Southern Oregon, 150 miles away at around 1230pm without any appreciation of the mess we were going to get into. The traffic was awful and moving at about 10 miles an hour. It took us over 90 minutes to go from Northern Madras to Southern side of the town. Google maps suggested alternate routes which initially saved us about 30 minutes. It was past 4pm when we reached Redmond, OR, 30 miles south. We then hit a traffic pileup of over 40 miles on US97 as cars were waiting to get into a gas station in Chemult, OR that was 65 miles south of Bend, OR. By the time we reached the Union Creek Resort near Crater Lake, it was past 10 – 10.5 hrs for the 150 miles drive from Madras, OR.

August 22, 2017 (Day 3)

We got up at sunrise and headed to Crater Lake. Due to forest fires in the area, there was so much smoke that the lake was not even visible from the Lodge. I shot the image below from the balcony of the Lodge at around 830am.

View from the balcony of Crater Lake Lodge
iPhone Photo
(42.909841, -122.140707)

We had a terrific breakfast at the Lodge. Food and service were impeccable. As there was not much to see around the Lodge, we went to the visitor center and saw a 25 minute documentary about Crater Lake that was quite informational. We then checked out the Vidae Falls nearby, and the wild flowers which were in full bloom around it.

Vidae Falls, Crater Lake National Park
Nikon D800E; 98mm; f22; 1/8 ISO 100
(42.884270, -122.099558)

We then drove to Bandon Beach along the Oregon Coast. The sky started to clear when we reached the beach. We checked into the hotel and drove to Coos Bay for a terrific Italian dinner.

August 23, 2017 (Day 4)

We got up at sunrise, had breakfast in the room, and went to check out the tide pools along the beach. The low tide was at around 745am. I was on the lookout for the elusive red sea star that I have been searching for, for over 10 years. We found a lot of barnacles, anemone, and purple and orange sea stars. No red ones. Search continues.

Bandon Beach tidepool
Nikon D800E; 31mm; f13; 1/2 ISO 100
(43.110512, -124.434352)
Orange Sea Star @ Bandon Beach tidepool
Nikon D800E; 120mm; f8; 1/15 ISO 500
(43.108016, -124.435019)

We returned to the room at around 9, took showers, reloaded the SUV and started driving north along US101. We stopped in the town of Florence for lunch. After lunch, we stopped at the Haceta Lighthouse viewpoint along the road.

Haceta Lighthouse from a viewpoint on US 101
Nikon D800E; 78mm; f11; 1/30 ISO 100
(44.125828, -124.125236)

It was around 430pm when we reached the town of Newport, OR and we checked into our hotel. As the sunset was at around 8pm, we left the hotel at 615 to visit the elegant Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Larry and I shot a bunch of images at sunset.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse @ Sunset
Nikon D800E; 120mm; f8; 1/125 ISO 100
(44.676228, -124.076941)

As the lunch was heavy, Mythili and I skipped dinner and hit the sack at 10.

August 24, 2017 (Day 5)

We got up at sunrise and drove to the Yaquina Head lighthouse again. We spent an hour at the Yaquina Head Marine Garden by the Cobble Beach. WE saw a bunch of harbor seals basking in the sun. As I did not have my telephoto lens with me, I decided to skip photographing them. AS it was low tide, I looked for a red sea star but again no luck. At 10, we went to a steakhouse at the entrance to the Lighthouse Park area for a sumptuous brunch.

After brunch, we continued to head north to Cannon Beach and Seaside, OR. I had booked 2 rooms at an Inn at the cove in Seaside. The view from the rooms were fantastic. We decided not to do photography that afternoon and instead, just relaxed watching the waves hitting the logs and cobble stones on the shore. We then walked along the shore for a mile for a terrific dinner at Maggie’s, 1.25 miles away. After dinner, we walked back to the inn and went to bed at 1030.

August 25, 2017 (Day 6)

Today was the last day of our eclipse trip. As usual, we got up at sunrise and went to Cannon Beach looking for sea stars and to photograph Haystack Rock. We had no luck locating a red sea star but the Haystack Rock was well illuminated by the early morning sun.

Haystack Rock just after Sunrise
Nikon D800E; 32mm; f16; 1/6 ISO 200
(45.890237, -123.964479)
Haystack Rock Reflection
Nikon D800E; 30mm; f11; 1/45 ISO 100
(45.884688, -123.965522)

After the shoot, we had breakfast at the Wayfarer Lounge next to the rock and drove back to Bellevue to drop Larry off and got home by 430pm.

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