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How a stunning photo from this week's total eclipse was captured and went viral

Totality | Capturing the Total Solar Eclipse
Earlier this week, an amazing photo of a rock climber silhouetted against the total eclipse went viral. The awe-inspiring shot was so breathtaking that some internet pundits were quick to call it a fake. After all, how could someone possibly have captured such a perfect image just as the eclipse was entering its totality? But, it turns out that the photo is indeed real and it was the result of a lot of hard work and meticulous planning.

The video above comes our way courtesy of Columbia Sportswear and Goal Zero. It features adventure photographers Ted Hesser and Andrew Studer, the two men who collaborated with one another to pull off the instantly iconic photo. The shot features climber Tommy Smith at the top of a rock spire just as the moon moves in front of the sun, shrouding the Earth in complete darkness.

But this wasn’t simply a case of a photographer being in the right place at the right time. Instead, it was the result of a great deal of planning and preparation that began days before the eclipse actually happened. To capture the shot, Hesser and Studer first traveled to Smith Rock State Park in Oregon, which fell directly in the path of totality. Once there, they scouted the park for several days looking for just the right location to capture the image that they had in mind. It wasn’t until the day before the celestial event that they actually discovered the perfect spot while working out the exact timing with the location of the sun.

The day of the eclipse brought more logistical challenges as the park filled up with thousands of others who had come to witness the event as well. Not only did the photographers have to stake out a spot ahead of the crowds, but Smith had to climb a 350-foot rock tower called Monkey Face. He arrived at the top with just a few minutes to spare, and quickly got into position. Down below, Hesser, Studer, and a group of other photographers were busy snapping away. It was Hesser himself that actually took the now-famous photo, later sharing it on both his Facebook and Instagram accounts.

If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to capture that perfect outdoor adventure photo, this video will provide some insights. Needless to say, it involves a lot more than just aiming a camera and pushing the button.

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Kraig Becker
Kraig Becker is a freelance outdoor writer who loves to hike, camp, mountain bike, trail run, paddle, or just about any other…
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