Epically surreal and ephemeral, the event of the Total Solar Eclipse on August 21st will forever be etched in my mind and luckily on a few tintypes as well. The race up on a crisp 3:30 am drive was expectedly met with others of the same intent. Wyoming was the destination for almost all Denverites plus the thousands of others from around the country and the world wanting a glimpse of totality. Our target was Guernsey State Park, public land just far enough away from the neighboring Glendo State Park, which we knew would be even more crowded, we hoped to find enough space (and time) to set up the portable darkroom (tent), my 8x10 view camera and all the chemistry that goes along with making wet plates. The greatest fear of mine, well the first one at the time, was that we would be forced to take a spot along the road, set everything up and at the moment before the eclipse get booted out, potentially missing an event that usually occurs every 40 or so years. As we approached the park thousands of cars were lined up along the highway. An eerie apocalyptic feeling started to settle in, orwellian in nature, I couldn't wait. Amazingly we pulled up to the entrance, paid a menial $6 and found a spot right away! From then all I had to worry about was the wind, the clouds and the chemistry . .
As we set up it was clear we were in the right place, Wyoming, the windiest state in the country. It's always somewhat of a potential hazard to have the darktent blow down along with the chemistry loosing the silver bath, the most expensive part of the process. But I brought four 40# tent weights just for that reason and they held the darktent down well.
We were definitely the odd looking ones in the camp with a funky looking tent, actually made for ice fishing, and a large format camera. Fortunately most people were starring up at the sky when they weren't chasing after paper plates and folding chairs blowing by so they didn't notice us much. Thankfully we had everything set up in plenty of time to shoot a few test plates and most importantly figure out exactly how much time we needed between each exposure. I was after making plates with several exposures on them since I thought these might be the most dramatic. I did a bunch of searches online and came up short on anyone whom had made a multiple exposure tintype of the solar eclipse. As far as I know my tintypes are the only existing multiple exposure wet plate images of a solar eclipse!
I made plates throughout the entire eclipse making sure to take a moment during totality to experience the moment. My wife Salimah shot some video of me which I put together in a short video clip.
Check out my Pinterest account for more historical photos of past solar eclipses!