2017 Solar Eclipse Vlog

Follow our 49 hour roadtrip and backpacking journey into the Oregon Wilderness to see the Solar Eclipse. This is my first attempt at making a vlog. I learned much, and promise to make better ones in the future, LOL.

2017 Solar Eclipse

August 21st 2017 is a date that will not soon leave my memory. A close friend, his son and I made the long voyage to Northern Oregon to catch the Total Solar Eclipse.

The "Diamond Ring Effect" caused by the last edge of the sun disappearing behind the moon

We began our journey in Santa Rosa, California from where it would take us two days driving to reach the path of totality that stretched across Oregon from West to East. Our plan had us camping our first night at a beautiful Alpine Lake near Mount Shasta. Unfortunately we encountered some car troubles on the way up which forced us to take a 2 hour detour, and were forced to hike to Porcupine Lake in the dark. The darkness however, did not disappoint, and we were offered some spectacular views of the Milky Way over the lake.

23 minute exposure over Porcupine Lake

23 minute exposure over Porcupine Lake

A different backdrop than we were used to.

A different backdrop than we were used to.

The next morning I awoke to photograph sunrise. I was extremely tired from the long day before, but the photo was well worth the trouble.

Porcupine Sunrise

Porcupine Sunrise

After breakfast we hiked back to the car to finish the drive to Northern Oregon. This ended up taking longer than we anticipated and we had to pull off the side of the road and camp somewhere near Detroit, Oregon.

Finally we arrived at the Pacific Crest Trailhead at Olallie Lake, Oregon where we would begin the journey on foot. Thankfully it was only 3-4 miles, because our packs were extremely heavy with food, clothes, camping and photo equipment. 

Our camping spot was absolutely world class, and we had the next 3 days to lounge and explore, before the real crowds began to show up.

Cigar Lake, Oregon

Cigar Lake, Oregon

The next days were spent meandering the nearby trails to other lakes, and eating the endless supplies of huckleberries the forest provided. 

Camping Life

Camping Life

As the eclipse drew nearer, we made sure we had charged batteries, and began planning how we would shoot something that we had no experience of. From a photographic standpoint, photographing your first eclipse is extremely challenging, due to the constantly changing light levels.

Watching the sun slowly retreat behind the moon through a piece of solar film, I began to prepare my cameras. Below is what I managed to capture 

Wide angle view of the eclipse. During totality the horizon appears as a sunset in 360 degrees.

Wide angle view of the eclipse. During totality the horizon appears as a sunset in 360 degrees.

The "Diamond Ring Effect" captured in a video, which is linked below

The "Diamond Ring Effect" captured in a video, which is linked below

My good friend Chad Zalunardo, an amazing photographer was able to capture some astounding images with his small Orion telescope. You can find more of Chad's images HERE

The progression of the eclipse as seen through Chad's scope.

The progression of the eclipse as seen through Chad's scope.

It is safe to say I am now a life long eclipse-chaser. This was such an awe-inspiring experience, and it can never be described with images, let alone words. I hope if you are reading this, you will one day be able to experience the magic of a total solar eclipse!

 

Tecopa

Tecopa, California Mine Exploration

A sunset with lenticular cloud formations near Tecopa.

A sunset with lenticular cloud formations near Tecopa.

The Mojave Desert is my escape from day-to-day life in Southern California. Every two months or so I get the overwhelming urge to pack up the car and get lost for a week. The desert offers a perfect place to do this, and is a brilliant photographic subject as a bonus. 

I'd like to thank my favorite desert pioneer and entrepreneur Cynthia, who runs the only hotel in the desert encampment of Tecopa - Cynthia's. Tecopa served as a jumping off point for our plans to do some spelunking in the abandoned mines and climbing of amethyst laden mountain ranges of the area.

War Eagle Mine. A silver and lead mine abandoned in 1957.

War Eagle Mine. A silver and lead mine abandoned in 1957.

The landscape surrounding Tecopa is littered with mines. From talcum, to lead, silver, gold and iron, few are active, dozens are abandoned. A small number of these mines have been mapped and explored by the Underground Explorers Club. One of these is War Eagle mine. Active from 1912 to 1957, the mine was an abundant source of silver, lead, and even small amounts of gold.

Entering the mine, a cool winter breeze flowed through the top shaft, indicating another exit somewhere within the depths of the cavern. The walls and divergences within had been marked by the explorers club, which was a welcome sight, as the amount of twists and turns soon had us questioning our sense of direction. Roughly a quarter mile within, we were greeted with an extremely steep, sloped shaft.

The mine shaft descends to over 300 feet below the surface

The mine shaft descends to over 300 feet below the surface

The infrastructure, left untouched for over 70 years was in amazingly good shape, and the makeshift staircase allowed us to descend in relative safety. As we descended deeper into the Earth, the temperature rose, and a stifling stillness permeated the air. We passed through 6 levels of horizontal shafts, broken by platforms through which passed small trap doors to the levels below. It became increasingly difficult to breathe, and we contemplated turning back, but we soon reached the bottom, where we found a dead end, and interesting objects such as an 18 year old newspaper which showed absolutely no signs of age. The atmosphere within the belly of the earth seems to serve as a placid time capsule.

Contemplating the end of the mine, over 300 feet below the Earth's surface.

Contemplating the end of the mine, over 300 feet below the Earth's surface.