I will be in the path of total darkness during the solar eclipse of August 21, 2017. I plan to be in alpine wilderness (Oregon Cascades), but will adjust my location as needed so that there are no clouds.

I'll have a single 4K video camera, tripod, ample recording memory, and batteries.

While the typical eclipse video is a direct image of the sun waning, then black with halo, then waxing, etc., I suspect there will be adequate quantities of those videos available for viewing.

I am hoping to capture something more unusual -- something that isn't routinely photographed. Ideas which spring to mind:

  • environmental changes attendant upon the eclipse, such as wind direction, air temperature, stream flow, ambient sound, etc.
  • wildlife behavioral changes: birds, mammals, rodents, fish, insects, etc.
  • vegetation changes: what do flowers which open for daylight or track the sun do for two minutes of darkness and about 60 minutes of variable darkness before and about 60 minutes afterward?

Are there other features attendant on a total solar eclipse which I could capture with my equipment and that are relatively rarely photographed except in scientific expeditions?

Likewise, are there any aspects which you know might be a waste of time to try to capture?

  • 2
    If you don't want to video the sun it might be interesting to try videoing the shadow bands. I've never seen a total eclipse so I don't know if they'd make an interesting video which is why I'm not posting this as an answer. I'm sure you could do better than the current Wikipedia picture if you decide to try at the very least.
    – Erik
    Jul 25, 2017 at 15:31

1 Answer 1


Video the zillions of tiny eclipse images, as the eclipse proceeds, which are produced by the gaps in foliage.

Any set of bushes or trees in front of the sun will have the effect of presenting many, many tiny apertures, each of which will cast an image of the eclipse on the ground or another surface (e.g. a wall, depending on the angle).

It's pretty impressive, and beautiful. It's actually more spectacular when the eclipse presents a crescent than when it is full - thousands of tiny crescents, each slowly developing. Like watching lots of camera obscura.

I first noticed this by accident, and it was quite startling. Everyone around had prepared the usual means of observing the eclipse: lens to paper, film negative, etc. It was when I used binoculars to cast the image onto paper that I noticed that the ground was in fact filled with a multitude of tiny eclipses.

  • +1 The eclipse will be only 85% of total where I am, and I am in a woodsy area, so this answer is very useful for me.
    – ab2
    Jul 28, 2017 at 2:54
  • I ended up on the east side of the Cascades due to forest fires closing the "Plan A" area to everyone but firefighters. As luck had it, the "Plan C" location had clear skies even though the forest fires weren't far away. Alas, there was only short foliage with small leaves but I did notice the partial eclipse phases produced thousands of tiny obscura within the shrubs themselves and a few on the ground. I photographed a few; but the 4K camera recorded 7+ miles of rolling foothills and mountains to try capturing the shadow moving across.
    – wallyk
    Aug 26, 2017 at 6:06

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