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Total Solar Eclipse in Oregon

Note: this is a photo I took of an annular solar eclipse in Lassen National Park on May 20th, 2012.

COST: $295.00

The Place

This is a "one-of-a-kind" event. A total solar eclipse is going to go across the United States on August 21st, 2017. The maximum eclipse will start in the Continental U.S. at the Oregon Coast and will go back over the Atlantic Ocean in South Carolina. This workshop will go to the wilderness of Eastern Oregon, a spot where there is likely to be no cloud cover, and is far away from major cities.

Our Focus

UPDATE:  This past week, I have visited and researched the places where this will take place.  Here is the latest info.

We will leave Petaluma as soon as possible on Saturday.  We will stay in a hotel on Saturday night in far Northern California or Southern Oregon.  On Sunday morning, we will stock up to have enough provisions from Sunday afternoon, until Monday afternoon.  

On Sunday night we will camp northeast of Bend, Oregon in a National Forest in a primitive, undeveloped campsite. On Monday morning, well before dawn, we will drive to an Oregon State Park and set up for our shoot of the eclipse. We will arrive at the park at 5:30 AM (first light), an hour before the actual sunrise. This park will have a special staff on hand for this event because they are expecting tons of people. We will be able to take some great pictures at this park until about an hour after sunrise (it is a beautiful place), while waiting for the eclipse. There are toilet facilities near the entrance of the park, but not in the interior. But they are renting port-a-potties (from Texas). Every portable toilet in Oregon has already been rented for this eclipse.

The maximum eclipse and maximum duration (just over 2 minutes) will take place at around 10:20 AM PDT. The eclipse will start around 9:07 AM at that location. We will leave one-half hour after the total eclipse (while the eclipse is still going on) to get a lead on the incredible traffic that will be on the road. We will be heading EAST to reach backroads to avoid the congestion of hundreds of thousands of people going west and south.  

We will proceed to California as quickly as possible until we are safely ahead of the incredible rush of traffic. We will probably be renting a hotel room along the way to Petaluma on Sunday since it is too long to drive all at once.

On the way up, we will probably photograph Burney Falls on Saturday afternoon, and Crater Lake on Sunday morning.

This is an unprecedented event, and Oregon officials are expecting up to ONE MILLION PEOPLE to travel to the path of the total eclipse. There will be TENS AND HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of people in Eastern Oregon, where the populations of most of the local towns are in the hundreds (or less).

All I heard when I was up in Oregon is that "This is unprecedented", so not even the authorities know what to expect. By the way, this is event is not very popular with most of the locals in eastern Oregon.

Here is a link to recent stories about some of what they expect. 

If you are going to be in the path of totality, you need to be prepared to do night photography at the point of totality.  If you are in a zone where the eclipse is only partial, then you just need a strong neutral density filter, and solar eclipse glasses so that you don't go blind.

We will practice night photography, and photographing the sun directly, on the way up to eastern Oregon, so that you know what to do when the big event arrives.

NOTE: The sooner you sign up and pay, the sooner we can make Saturday night's lodging reservations.

Note: If you intend to photograph the actual eclipse, you will need the following:

  1. A tripod
  2. A very long focal length lens (400mm or longer - 1200mm or more is best)

  3. Solar eclipse glasses

  4. A very strong neutral density filter

  5. A cable release (or self-timer)

General Topics that will be Covered

We will focus on building up your technical foundation, including:

  1. Setting color and image quality settings for best results
  2. Focusing, depth of field, and image sharpness
  3. Getting the right exposure through the use of histograms
  4. Learning how to use exposure compensation to get better results
  5. How to identify strong compositions
  6. How to improve contrast and clarity in difficult lighting
  7. And, the location of several beautiful places to photograph
  8. There will also be a critique of your images and guidance on how to capture the "spirit of your subjects", and not just their surfaces
  9. How to capture the eclipse with the proper focal lengths and neutral density filters.

Workshop Summary 

WHERE: Eastern Oregon (and vicinity)

DATE: Saturday, August 19th to Monday, August 21st

TIME: Sunrise to Sunset

CLASS SIZE: Limited to 6 participants 

We will carpool from Petaluma on Saturday morning (or you can meet up with us around Bend). The workshop will be based near Bend, Oregon (and along the way). Our subjects will be chosen based on weather conditions at the time. There will also be an optional post-workshop critique of your images a few weeks after the workshop has ended. A map of our itinerary will be supplied to participants after the workshop, so that you can re-visit any of the places we photographed.

Suggested places for lodging will be given after registration.

The price is for tuition only. This course fee does not include transportation or meals.

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