A can’t-miss eclipse

by | Oct 8, 2018 | Fall 2018, Miner's Pic | 0 comments

Like many people, Chris Bergin ’12 knew he couldn’t miss last year’s Great American Solar Eclipse, a historic celestial event that only happens about once in a person’s lifetime. When the event coincided with the bachelor party Bergin was planning for his friend and fellow alumnus Nick Riggert ’12, Bergin saw it as an opportunity to celebrate his friend’s upcoming nuptials in a nontraditional way. “We were only a short drive away,” Bergin said. “It was a no-brainer to make sure we saw it.”

Bergin and Riggert, along with Steven Wooldridge ’13 and Andrew Corman ’12, woke up at 4 a.m. the day of the eclipse and drove south from Portland to get in the path of totality. They stopped in the small town of Mount Angel, Oregon, where Bergin set up his camera.

“I’ve been a fan of photographing the sky since I took an astronomy class in high school where we got to photograph the sun, moon and deep-sky objects using a telescope,” Bergin said. “For these photos, I purchased a solar filter for my camera. It’s the same material as the lenses in eclipse viewing glasses but made to fit over a camera lens.” 

Bergin experimented with his camera throughout the early stages of the eclipse to get the perfect shot. “I was so amazed with the sun in totality that I almost forgot to take a photograph, and it was with only a few seconds left in totality that I remembered to take the photo,” he said.

But the real challenge came when Bergin sat down to edit the photos. He had seen some photos of past lunar eclipses that showed a sequence of the eclipse in different phases and wanted to adopt the idea for a series of his own photographs. “Steven Wooldridge actually did most of the editing work after I had taken the photos,” Bergin said. 

Wooldridge stitched several of Bergin’s photos together into one image to create an arc of the various stages of the eclipse. The final result was an exceptional image to commemorate an unforgettable event.