Like all photographers in the Path of Totality, I was going to set up early but then I realized I was dealing with celestial bodies that move and if I put my tripod in place even 30 minutes before the sun and the moon would be on the move anyway. In my area, we were told the magic of the moon moving over the sun would start around 11:30 am and go all through to totality. I decided that getting ready around 11:30 would be for the best as I would have to move around anyway. The night before I had set everything out and made sure it worked. My equipment consisted of the longest lens I owned, 300mm, a tripod, and a solar filter. I even checked the weather, clouds were supposed to be coming and going throughout the day but would not as much of an issue when totality came only later on. Therefore when the time to take pictures came I was out on the back deck waiting.
The Totality of Clouds
I managed to get a few good shots of the partial eclipse then the clouds rolled through and stayed. I attempted to take as many pictures as I could when the clouds cleared but that was few and far between. So, of course, when totality hit there was but a thin sliver of sky through which only a small portion of an almost total eclipse could be seen and even then not in its entirety. Then the clouds moved again and the total eclipse was lost to us.
The equipment I had worked well and I did get a few good shots but the weather is uncontrollable. With this short of a timeframe and clouds, a total solar eclipse photo was not in the cards, so to speak.
A longer lens might have helped or perhaps a telescope. In the end, the weather, not my equipment prevented me from getting the shots I wanted to attempt to take. I know that with the equipment I had my shots might not have turned out how I wanted anyway but at least I would have attempted.
Fortunately, when the next total eclipse comes through the US I will be more prepared and more experienced my photos will ultimately turn out better. I’ll have had years of practice.