Image on the cover is the second best photograph of Solar Eclipse. (Credit: Colleen Pinski)
The total solar eclipse
of August 2017 was a huge thing, and over 200 million Americans watched it. A lot of them were trying to take pictures, but in order to shoot the best one, you had to be in the right place, at the right time. And none of them was better than over 200 million Americans watching the total solar eclipse in August 2017, but no one had a better view than photographer Jon Carmichael. He spent years plotting how he could capture the total eclipse in a unique way, eventually combining his passions for photography, astronomy, and flight.
We all know that solar eclipses don’t happen very often, and this one was one of the most photographed in history. As professional photographers, they feel a lot of pressure trying to make sure that they got the best shots. Carmichael prepared and made plans for this moment long ago, and he came up with the idea of the perfect place to document this moment.
By studying the eclipse path carefully,
the photographer realized that Southwest Airlines runs a flight from Portland to St. Louis that would put him in the perfect position to view the event.
Without thinking twice, this was his once-in-a-lifetime chance, and he had to take it. The photographer purchased a ticket and hoped that he’d get a window seat. Since Southwest doesn’t have pre-assigned seats, he’d even prepared himself to bribe someone to give up their window position if necessary.
Luckily, it didn’t come to that. When he explained his mission to the Southwest flight crew, not only did they ensure he’d get a great seat, but the captain actually went outside the plane to clean the window for a crystal clear shot.
During the flight itself, the pilots circled a few times to provide all passengers with a spectacular view. Carmichael was ready for his big moment where he shot over 1,200 photos in two minutes and managed to perfectly capture the total eclipse over Snake River. It’s an image that Inc. calls “history’s most amazing photo.”
How did it feel to photograph his dreams? “In photography, it’s very rare for something you envision to manifest itself, let alone to turn out even better than you had hoped. I had visualized this moment for years, risked a lot flying across the country on the off-chance this could work out and hadn’t slept in days leading up to this moment. So after I looked through all the photographs, I put my camera away, took a deep breath, and celebrated by ordering a drink and having a big smile for the rest of the flight. I had never felt more relieved, grateful, and excited in my life. Against all odds, it came together. It felt meant to be—and literally changed my life.”
Carmichael spent a year editing the photographs to create 108, a massive photographic mosaic. The photographer’s website now sells limited edition prints.
READ MORE: What Creates a Total Solar Eclipse?
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