"A Once In A Lifetime Trip...

That We Hope To Take Again!"

This is a record of the Gregory Family Experience of the 2017 Great American Eclipse.

We planned far in advance including the purchase of eclipse glasses from Toys-R-Us, a sheet of solar film for me to make camera filters from and choice os location.

We opted to avoid the chaos (though it sounded like fun) of hopkinsville and chose instead to head to Clarksville, TN. Scouring the map and making contact with the Clarksville Recreations department, it seemed there were several parks within ten miles of the perfect center of the totality path. My park of choice was Billy Dunlop Park.

The day before, we gathered up all the supplies: folding chairs, coolers, food, drinks, camera equipment, computer (Mac of course), tripods, star tracker (home-made, that's another story entirely), sunscreen, 3DS games (for the ride) and the eclipse glasses of course.

On the day of the eclipse, We packed everything up and left home around 5:30am, stopped in Henderson to get ice for the coolers and were on our way. By the time we were just outside of Henderson, we drove into a glorious sunrise and I had a very good feeling about the day.

The Perfect Place

Once in a very long time a man tastes the sweet joy of a wife, mother and all three of his children all in glorious harmony declaring that "Dad is THE MAN!" This turned out to be one of those rare moments (not that I really deserve too much credit). The truth is, God blessed us with this perfect place. Billy Dunlop Park was out of the way enough that only a few dozen people found it like we did (but from over 16 different states). So it wasn't crowded at all. To top it off, we were able to set up at the main pavilion with electric outlet for the computer and a perfect sunny area just a few feet away. Thus, we were able to sit in the pavilion and watch the eclipse progress on the computer in the shade until time for totality. :-)

The Actual Experience

I set up my Nikon D3300 with a Vivitar Series 1 1000mm lens complete with a solar filter made from a UV lens, a thin ring adapter and a perfectly cut circle of solar filter film, mounted on my home-made star tracker connected by wifi to my Mac. I also set up my D7000 on a fixed tripod with a wired remote shutter and a 300mm lens with two polarized filters combined to make a variable density lens. I had to adjust the D7000 every ten minutes or so to keep the sun in view. Thanks to the variable density filter, during totality I was able to grab the D7000, adjust the front filter and capture the ring of fire manually.

For and hour and a half, we watched the moon cross over the sun, from a nibble to barely a sliver. We invited others in the area to come and see and they were delighted to see it on the screen where the sun spots and eclipse progress were much easier to see (and no risk of blindness).

All along, we also took a few moments too look at it through the glasses too.


It's about the experience, not just the photos.

Don't get me wrong, photos are great, I love them, but you have to take a moment or two to breathe in the experience as well. You can't get lost in the technology so deep that you lose out on the wonder of the view and we did!

The Gregory Family Experience!

Click here for the full video of "us" and our reactions through totality .M4V (145.6 mb)

Or, if bandwidth is an issue or you can't play M4V files, these GIF files have the experience transcribed:

Click here for Mac .GIF (1.4 mb)
Click here for Windows .GIF (0.9 mb)

But speaking of the photos...

Here are links to the 1500 x 1500 Animated Full Progress of the 2017 Solar Eclipse:

Click here for .MOV (13.9 mb)
Click here for .GIF (6.5 mb)

Click on the preview below to load a 2000w composite of my Eclipse Photo set:

Once totality was complete, we had another hour and a half to finish out all the photos of the moon passing out from in front of the sun.

And then the trek back home riding off into the sunset... literally!

I hope you have enjoyed sharing our experience.
It's only a few years until another opportunity comes, so we're looking forward to next time. Maybe we'll see you there.
George Gregory ~ Owner of PhotoGG.com