They felt equally long – the one I spent doubting myself and managing my stress, and the totality.
Two minutes before totality, the crowd’s celebration, adding to my own misjudgment, toppled my tripod, dumping my camera into dirt (luckily) and shattering a UV filter.
“Ok. Again. All for nothing.” I thought I’d say to myself. Plainly like that, it was a mentality I have gotten somewhat used to; I considered packing up, running downhill and leaving my teammates behind.
I’m glad that this time is different.
After a rough blow cleaning, I refocused and restarted exposure programs with new parameters to compensate for the dirty lens and checked for the intactness of my optical elements, and managed, to the best of my equipment and knowledge, to capture a Bailey’s Bead for myself.
Standing in a strange darkness where it was the color of dusk all around and Vicuña’s street lamps turned on down below, I ascertained that it was indeed a powerful experience.
It’s my first total solar eclipse. Though I’ve played it tens of times on my computer, “Just like the simulations.” doesn’t quite express the wonderful mix of physical rationality and instinctive excitement.
As such, I see eclipse-chasing as another pursuit with romantic connotations, the kind of which I won’t give up easily.
Watch the sun set on a grateful universe.