Total Eclipse Over Arkansas

April 09, 2024  •  8 Comments

       Ever since the last total eclipse that went across the country in 2017, I have been thinking about where I wanted to be on April 8, 2024.  After scouting out a few possibilities in the Ouachita National Forest, the Ozark National Forest and Petit Jean State Park. In the end, I decided to settle in on my piece of quiet property in Newton County...instead of dealing with crowds and traffic along the Interstate 40 corridor.  I looked for potential subjects to incorporate into the landscape, such as tall pine trees that stood out in a field. However, one problem is the sun is high in the sky during the eclipse (about 60 degrees above the horizon). When you have to point the camera so high in the sky, you have to contort your tripod (or your body!) into strange angles to view. Another problem is when so close to a foreground subject, such as a tree, is that the sun is going to look like a tiny speck. I already did something similar during the annual eclipse back in October over New Mexico.  

      I have been getting a little more into time lapse photography.  I decided to only use one camera pointed toward the horizon to capture a time lapse with more time to enjoy the actual eclipse with my own eyes. When the moon's shadow travels at nearly 1,500 mph, there is not a lot of time soak it all in and this allowed me more time to enjoy the show and less time fiddling with tripods and awkward camera angles. 


     There were scattered high, thin cirrus clouds streaming in.  That could also be just enough to cause the sun to be fuzzy and lack detail.  That was one potential drawback to zooming in to only the sun (though many Arkansas photographers were able to successfully do this).  One potential upside was the motion in clouds in this time lapse, as you can see in the video above. Had the sky been completely sunny, a time lapse would be less interesting.  Toward the start of the video, you will see a few birds flying (as black splotches) and that seemed to disappear as it became dark and they stopped flying.  

     Despite a lot of hype, I do believe a total solar eclipse is an incredible experience. I would recommend you see it once in your life.  The key is to be in the path of totality.  90% totality will not give you 90% of the experience and many people do not seem to understand that. 

     The next total solar eclipse in the U.S. will be in August 2044. 


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