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Alright.. So I know everyone’s anxious for my Alaska posts, and I even had something else originally planned for this week, but with all the excitement of this life-changing event, I had to interject an extra story.

This is just a preview, as I’m still working on the photos, but I’ll have the rest next week.  Follow my blog for all the latest!

Anticipation for the solar eclipse has been brewing for months, and “totality” invokes a very clear image in everyone’s minds.  For any living in the States, it’s meant booking hotels and campsites for exorbitant amounts, scrambling to secure legitimate solar glasses when half those sold were recalled a week prior, and selecting the best viewing spots.

For those fortunate to live anywhere near the path of totality, the hype was exponentially greater, with folks debating if 99% was good enough (it isn’t) or if four hours of horrendous traffic was worth that last 1% (it is).  And for photographers, it additionally meant tracking down the longest lens possible and seeing if there was any possibility of getting around needing a $200 solar filter for a one-time use (there is).

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

I decided to rent a long lens (I can’t afford to buy all the lenses I want to shoot with!), but the local shop was completely sold out a month out.  I foolishly thought that was enough time beforehand; silly me.  So I fell back on online rentals.  I also naively believed the high demand on long lenses was unique to the northwest, where we’d have the best viewing opportunities.

Boy, was I wrong.

Anything above 400mm was either sold out or outrageously expensive to rent (upwards of $300 for the weekend), no matter where I looked.  I settled on the 100-400mm (that I could put on my 1.4x extender), and I even managed to find a coupon to knock off a third of the cost at  Given my previous troubles, I worried I’d get a notification from the shop saying they were actually all sold out – despite the order confirmation – but they pulled through.  Whew!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

I live quite close to what was the path of totality (Portland saw 99% coverage) and in an area with fairly reliably clear weather, so it seemed silly to me to not drive the extra minimal distance to witness the spectacle firsthand.

I’m also not one to let an opportunity slip by.  When the last partial eclipse hit the area five or six years ago, I looked up the date of the next total eclipse.  I jotted down the date on a sticky – August 21, 2017.  My boss saw it stuck to my whiteboard and asked what the date meant.  When I told him, he remarked he’d love to see that little square stay there for six years.  Well, it lasted maybe 3 before I just put the date into my digital calendar so I wouldn’t forget.

Needless to say, I’ve been looking forward to this for a very long time.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

It was ultimately everything I hoped for, though I was worried for a while.  Here’s a preview of one of my better shots.  And you can now catch the full story here!

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