On August 21, thousands of Beltway politicos and parents closely timed their lunch breaks to coincide with the first total solar eclipse to grace the American mainland in nearly a century. The view from the nation's capital might have been far from the awe-inspiring darkness that totally floored a CNN reporter in Missouri, but it was still wild enough to inspire a round of applause on a packed National Mall. Tourists and Washington residents occupy two entirely different worlds despite sharing a city, but on Monday afternoon, those two realms intertwined on the Mall, all wearing solar shades and staring up (hopefully, safely) at the Sun - and for once, not thinking about Trump. But, like the eclipse, not even that lasted long enough.
Sadly, Amazon was completely sold out of solar filter to protect my DSLR. And I couldn't even get my hands on the glasses - guess that's what you get for procrastinating. Whatever. Eclipse shots are soooo last eon. So I decided to do what any reasonable photojournalist would - people watch. And maybe some kind soul would let me borrow their glasses for a few seconds.
Among the crowd on the Mall near the art museum, I ran into a man who had set up a small telescope to reflect an image of the Sun onto a plate with minutes to go until peak eclipse in Washington just before 3. He clearly was the man of the hour. Thanks Peter!
And so darkness (sort of) came upon Washington. The birds flying, the cicadas started chirping, and a odd grey light spread across the Mall accompanied by a noticeably cooler breeze. With impeccable timing, a thin cloud moved in front of the sun and blocked the light for long enough to get a shot without risking damage to my camera (don't worry, I still didn't use the view finder). You'll see the results of that above. Mission accomplished.
Coming down from almost a week full of covering nothing but Charlottesville, it felt like I had stepped into another universe. One of a childlike sense of amazement, and didn't involve white supremacists. At the time I'm writing this, I'm still thinking of a way to put my enormous volume of work and experiences from those three days into a single blog post. So stay tuned for that. Meanwhile, forget about the REAL news and enjoy these photos of people watching a space rock block a giant space fireball for a minutes.