I planned today a few weeks ago. We’re getting up early and driving to the Eastern Shore, Assateague Island. If anything, we’ll get some sun, put our feet in the water and see the wild ponies. I didn’t properly prepare for photographing the Eclipse and 15 minutes before we left, I made a filter out of an extra pair of glasses that I found at Lowes. Yes, they were properly ISO rated.
We got there with just enough time to set up our spot, walk down to the water, stand in awe of the vastness of the ocean, talk about the vastness of the ocean and walk back to our spot. Laying on our beach blanket, it was about 90° with a soft summer breeze. We joked on and on about the eclipse being fake. After about a half hour passed, I checked the sun with my fancy glasses and gasped. The sun looked like a frickin’ crescent moon and as I looked around, everyone else was wearing their fancy glasses and looking up too. Kinda like the famous photo of the first 3D movie from 1952.
Ok, let’s do this.
The sky started to dim a little and the air wasn’t as warm anymore. I tried to snap some photos with my stupid homemade filter but it just wasn’t working for me. Pouty, childlike and selfish, I turned to look behind me to see if anyone had successfully made a homemade solar filter for their lens. All I saw was a woman wearing a cardboard box on her head, carrying a cereal box with aluminum foil taped to the top, stumbling through the sand, looking in the direction of the sun and a man wearing a wide-brim sun hat, following behind her with two beach chairs. Then I heard “did you get any good pictures” and saw the cereal box fall to the sand. It was the woman with the cardboard box on her head. I explained that my homemade filter was awful and we were just enjoying the event via our glasses. Her husband looked irritated and in pause, sarcastically mentioned that she dropped her Frosted Flakes. She didn’t have any viewing glasses but I had an extra pair. Immediately, I felt for this woman and reached into my camera bag and pulled out a perfect, new, shiny, ISO rated, golden ticket-esque pair of eclipse 2017 viewing glasses and handed them to her. She was so excited, she was me. Her husband cracked a smile. He didn’t really want to be there. After some conversation about their road-tripping adventures, and denying their offer to pay us for the glasses, they set up their beach chairs right behind us. He faced his chair away from the sun. He just had cataract surgery but wanted her to enjoy the event. Then I smiled as I looked back at George laying on our beach blanket, twiddling his thumbs.
The Eclipse was almost over so we decided to leave before everyone else, just like everyone else. We saw some wild ponies, got some sun and joked about how we drove a long way for nothing but in reality, we spent time with each other, with new, awesome humans and I guess we made friends.
Totality worth it.