Prior to the eclipse I kept fretting if I should go somewhere secluded to get interesting shots and not be bothered by crowds, or should I just go somewhere populated (options included eclipse festivals, college campuses, parks, etc.).
I decided to watch the eclipse from the campus of WCU (Cullowhee, NC). The previous day someone told me that it would be closed to the public, but actually only parking would be closed to the public. (I briefly pondered disguising myself as a professor to make sure my presence would not be challenged). So I rode my bike onto campus with a bag loaded with camera gear and snacks. The university had a tent set-up to hand-out eclipse glasses, and classes had been canceled during the eclipse - everyone was aware there was going to be an eclipse, but I think many didn't realize how awesome it would be.
While setting up my camera, nobody bothered me. People just walked by like any other day. When the sun was partially blocked I had to tell a few people that the eclipse had started, so they looked up, and became afixed at the sight.
Others stopped, and the chatter continuously increased. Shortly before 2nd contact, it became applause and then loud yells and screams. I stayed crazy-busy after setting up two GoPro cameras and snapping shots with a DSLR. Passing clouds caused me to keep changing filter combinations (at some points the partial eclipse was visible with no glasses at all, thus I and others put our trust in the clouds to view the eclipse rather than solar glasses). fyi: Use solar glasses if unsure about thickness of clouds!!
When it was all done, nobody had bothered me at all during totality. People were much too mezmerized by the eclipse to notice one guy with a tripod.
Everyone had their own personal images and videos. But everyone began to realize that cell-phone images don't capture the moment - really there is no single media that could have capture this event. Anyway, at this point, numerous students and others came to me and asked if I'm "selling" my pictures. Two or three even seemed desperate, as if something great had just happened in their life - and they had no evidence or memento to bring home from the event.
I told them I'm not a professional photographer, and not even sure my images would be any good. But I said I'll post whatever is ok on social media (Flickr).
So without adding too many more words - I say when deciding to see the next eclipse with a crowd or not - go where there will be people! It's way more fun, and nobody will bother you during totality. Only after the eclipse, as you're packing up your camera gear, will your tasks be interupted by passers-by, some who seem to have had their lives changed.
For pics (a link which I've already shared more than once) see below, and scroll left to see events as eclipse progressed:
Edited by vickiestar, 13 September 2017 - 11:43 AM.