Eclipse, Elqui Valley, Chile by Erika Valkovicova

Picture Story

No words can describe the moment when the day turns into night during the totality. There was that apocalyptic feeling in the air. Witnessing the 2019 July 2nd Total Solar Eclipse high above Chile's mystical Elqui Valley was unforgettable!

Our Eclipse camp was high above the lush green valley. We were supposed to watch the Eclipse from a nearby observatory; therefore, I did not pay much attention to scout the area. On the day of the Eclipse, the bus left us behind due to organisational misunderstanding. I knew the Sun's expected position during the totality, which would be very low, just above the mountains visible from our camp. Besides the detailed shot of the Sun with a telephoto lens, I wished to capture the typical desert scenery as well. The time was ticking, and I had very little time to find the perfect location. Just about 100 meters from our campsite, I found a clear area and decided to set up my gear.

During the partial Eclipse, I took the image of the backlit cactus, highlighting its beauty. Afterwards, I zoomed in from 24 to 35mm to capture a slightly bigger Sun in the moment of totality. The aperture and the ISO remained the same. The biggest challenge was to capture the whole scene at the right moment as the light was changing quickly. I had to adjust the brightness and the colours of both photographs to create a balanced final image. The totality lasted only two minutes. I was fully immersed in this spectacular event in the sky and busy operating my three cameras, which I had set up to capture this extraordinary display.

Unfortunately, not many have seen the 2020 Eclipse in the Southern Hemisphere due to travel restrictions worldwide. Hopefully, the next one will be accessible for all keen Eclipse chasers.

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