Only Once In a Lifetime - By Jerry Black

Jennifer Hester |

For most people some things occur only once in a lifetime. They meet with an attorney to get their estate planning documents done and once completed they never look at them again. I’ll come back to this point in a few paragraphs.

I fancy myself as an above average photographer. In a few days(maybe by the time you read this it will have already happened) I, along with millions of other photographers will photograph the solar eclipse. I will drive to another state to optimally (weather permitting) put myself in the path of totality where I will have visibility and exposure to the eclipse for the longest period of time possible in order to capture the total eclipse from beginning to end. If my settings, practicing and preparations are all in order I also hope to capture the corona that occurs when the moon sits perfectly in front of the sun, for the total eclipse of the sun.

This will perhaps be a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and millions of others. For some real aficionados of such things they will have traveled from other parts of the world to capture this unique event, and to a certain extent almost unparalleled in US history because this eclipse will occur across the entire United States from Washington State, across the Midwest and down to South Carolina and out into the Atlantic. Some people will take a cruise ship trip into the Atlantic to view the eclipse from the ocean. That could be really cool.

Many of my photography friends will have spent hours getting ready for this event. Special equipment is necessary to photograph the eclipse. A good way to destroy a perfectly good $5000 camera is point it at the sun without really good filters. And these filters may never be used again (once in a lifetime unless the photographer travels to another part of the world many years from now or is still alive to photo the next eclipse over the United States in 2045. Some I know will travel westward to camp in National Parks to have grand vistas over which the eclipse will occur in order to have wonderful foregrounds in their photos. Honestly, I wish I could be with them.

Another event will occur in everybody’s life, only once in a lifetime: That day when we pass from this world into the next, from the temporal to the eternal. By the way – eternal is a very long time. I fear many of my photography friends will have spent far more money, far more time, travelled far distances, attended or “YouTubed” photographing eclipse seminars, practiced and prepared, consulted wise experienced photographers, bought good gear and hoping the weather will be conducive wherever they are and are prepared to be, at that perfect time – than has been spent or invested in considering what happens with their stuff and how it impacts the next generation for when that “only once in a lifetime” day comes. If you haven’t done the right thing or you’re not sure – give us a call. We have the “filters” of experience to guide you wisely.