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We drove over 300 miles to capture the total solar eclipse. We learned some lessons along the way.

Here at Fracture we were just as swept up in Eclipse-mania as everyone else. Homemade viewing glasses, NASA approved welding masks, and laminated solar eclipse charts in hand – we came prepared to fully geek out. Sensing an awesome opportunity to capture a special moment in time, we sent a few teammates Eclipse-chasing. Here’s a recap of Drew and Taylor’s excellent adventure.

What happened yesterday will likely only happen a couple more times in our lifetime.

So when Taylor and I had the opportunity to go to Charleston, SC to capture the total solar eclipse, it was a no-brainer.

Our adventure taught me 3 important lessons about capturing the important events in our lives.

Lesson 1:

It’s worth it to go out of your way to capture a special moment.

At Fracture we’re all about capturing those important moments to celebrate forever, and this one certainly fit the bill.

An eclipse like this hadn’t happened in the United States in almost a hundred years. Cars had just been invented and we were in the thick of the first World War. The solar eclipse seemed extra-special for a couple of reasons: 1) It’s just SO rare. 2) It was one of those unique moments that the entire country could experience together in the same few hours.

To feel so connected as a nation – it was hard to pass up being part of that. We needed to get in on the action.

Plans were made, bags were packed, and on Sunday afternoon, the road was hit. We headed to South Carolina, the closest place to us where the solar eclipse would reach totality (full coverage of the sun by the moon).

300 miles and over 6 hours later, we were in Charleston for the evening, and the next morning,  we made our way to the MUSC Health Stadium, which was hosting a live viewing party on its soccer field. Booths of every kind lined the sides of the stadium, from NASA’s official booth to a Ben & Jerry’s truck, and a dozen in between. Throughout the morning people set up their tents and lawn chairs on the field, and tried to stay cool while watching NASA’s live eclipse broadcast on the stadium’s 3,000 square foot jumbotron.

We staked our spot on the field, set up our camera and telescope, and tried to stay hydrated as we waited on the stars to align.

Lesson 2:

Your plan might not work perfectly, and that’s ok.

Despite this incredible planetary alignment happening, Mother Nature (in Charleston anyway) seemed quite set on hiding the eclipse with clouds.

As the day wore on, the sun was consistently blocked by clouds passing by.

Fortunately, the clouds cleared up enough for us to get some great shots in time of the beginning and the totality of the eclipse.  The monster thunderstorm forming to the west of us was fast approaching but held off *just* long enough.

The severe lightning and thunder added an entire other level of the spectacle we were witnessing in the sky.

We never got to the see the waning half of the eclipse, because once totality was reached, big storm clouds blocked the sun completely as a huge storm rolled in.

We rushed to tear down our equipment and tried to escape the impending monsoon. (We did.)

The perfect idea you have in your head for the photos you want to take? Yeah, that might not happen. In fact, in probably won’t happen like you imagine. The lighting is different than you wanted, your flash isn’t working, it starts raining, your daughter just discovered ketchup and introduced it to her brand-new dress, the dog decided to crash the family portrait, etc.

That’s ok. Now that you know things won’t go according to plan, you can relax, and just prepare to adapt and take the best pictures you can.

Lesson 3:

Sometimes the memory is more important to capture than the perfect shot.

On the way back, it struck me that this crazy adventure with a friend was what I enjoyed remembering most about this trip.

This random selfie we took a few minutes before the total eclipse is one I remember as fondly as the cool shots we managed to get before the storm canceled our plan.

The perfect shot is of course always cool to have, but when you’re going out of the way to capture a moment, don’t forget to capture the candor, emotion and people of that moment too. The smiles and laughter of a candid moment will always provoke more positive memories and emotions than the perfect shot ever will.

Here are the prints I’m excited to have, to remember this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

The best adventures we take are the ones that teach us some things and give us memories to celebrate forever. This was one adventure I know I won’t soon forget.

Did you have an eclipse adventure? What lesson did you learn?

More great photos of the total eclipse from Instagram:

Let us know in the comments below!


The Author

Drew Allen

Drew Allen

Besides being the managing editor of this blog, I'm also a drummer, a husband, and a father, not necessarily in that order. I love good stories, and great design, and I probably quote the Office more than I should but less than I could.