Eclipse and Park Photography

I was just pondering the upcoming August 21 solar eclipse, and it occurred to me there would be potentially some incredible, once in a lifetime opportunities for taking pictures in our favorite parks. Think of the on-lift-hill shot looking right into an eclipse, eclipse in a coaster loop, or eclipse and park landmark. It looks like places like Dollywood and Carrowinds might have the best shots at totality, but I think the partial eclipses in places like Cedar Point or Disney world might be even more dramatic.

What do you guys think? Any specific incredible shots you guys are interested in?

Jeff's avatar

Honestly, it should be pretty spectacular in most of the US, save for the extreme northeast and southwest. Not sure I would describe it as once-in-a-lifetime though. I've seen quite a few eclipses.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Definitely not once in a lifetime, but total solar eclipses visible (meaning in the path of totality) in the lower 48 sates aren't exactly common. About 4 every 50 years. So 7 or 8 in a lifetime...assuming luck with cloud cover and such. And then considering the seasonal park season - I assume the in-park photo ops were being referred to as "once in a lifetime" - it gets pretty rare, I suppose.

With that said, the next one visible in the lower 48 happens on April 8, 2024 (likely pre-season for the seasonals, but it's a pretty good park track including Kings Island and Cedar Point). But then you have another 21 years before the next widespread chance at park eclipse pics (this totality path included Orlando). (there's one in 2044, but only Montana and a corner of North Dakota in path for totality)

So yeah. No real point. The thread made me curious and I'm sharing what I found. Eclipses aren't rare. Full eclipses are about 7 or 8 a lifetime. Being in the path of totality depends on a number of things. Parks being in the path depends even more. (can't move a park)

"Once in a lifetime" is subjective.

I'm done nerding out.

I was at Kings Island about 100 years ago when there was a full eclipse. We were waiting for Screamin Demon (that's how long ago) under a queue that had lattice for covering overhead. If you looked at the ground the shadow in the little lattice squares made many, many perfect shapes of the eclipse. It was like one of those pinhole boxes you can make, but better. We could safely watch it go by from beginning to end. (That's how long the line was...)

I don't know how stellar the pictures will be. There can be some spectacular pictures when the sun is behind something: birds, rides, airplanes, etc. However, those pictures are typically near sunset / sunrise. This eclipse at Cedar Point is going to be pretty close to high noon.

Jeff's avatar

Yeah, I took a bunch of photos (on film!) my junior year of college on the quad, and basically the world takes on a weird color temperature, and the light coming through the trees makes a bunch of little crescents all over the place. If you want to shoot the sun behind something, you'll be disappointed unless you can get really far away from your foreground object, which in early afternoon isn't going to happen because the sun will be too high in the sky. Even if you could do that, you need to stop it down so far to get definition of the ring that you'll only get a silhouette anyway.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

Near sunrise/sunset the sun is dim enough that you can get some pictures, although you still probably shouldn't look at it. If you really want to take pictures of the eclipse, you should look for a filter specifically for looking at / taking pictures of the sun. They block out a LOT of the light. Enough that you really wouldn't see anything in the foreground.

To add to what Jeff said, you'll also need a long lens to get the zoom to make the sun appear to be more than just a spec in the picture.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

In summary,

Not only is the photo opportunity not that special, but the technical aspects don't lend themselves to the subject very well and the results wouldn't be all that interesting anyway.

Welcome to CoasterBuzz. Home of the reality check. We're here 24/7!

Vater's avatar


HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

High five!!

If you can't take good pictures of a total eclipse at an amusement park, what is the point in having a total eclipse? Is it too late to cancel it? We could have really big fireworks instead the night before.

Vater's avatar

If amusement parks could support photos of a solar eclipse...

rollergator's avatar

It's rare enough that Bonnie Tyler sang a song about it: "Total Eclipse of the Park." ;~P

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

LostKause's avatar

WHAT? They're canceling the eclipse? But I already bought my plane ticket!

hambone's avatar

I have seen a partial eclipse, and that sounds like what most folks here are describing. It would lead to interesting photography opportunities for a while, the way the world changes color, and I suppose that would be interesting in an amusement park, but not necessarily better than anywhere else. I don't really think there would be opportunities to take photos with the sun in them, without some super-duper filters.

A total eclipse (i.e., being the path of totality) is apparently a different matter - I have not seen one. In that case I have to say I wouldn't really want to be in an amusement park. I would want to be someplace with a clear view to the northwest (and southeast, if possible), probably elevated. You could try to ride to the top of a ferris wheel or something, I suppose, but your timing would have to be very good - it would suck to be standing in a loading station. You'll have a couple minutes of darkness.

Based on NASA's map, if you do want to be in a park, it looks like *maybe* Worlds of Fun, Six Flags St Louis, Beech Bend, or Dollywood are your options.

FWIW, here's Annie Dillard on the difference between a total eclipse and a partial eclipse:

I had seen a partial eclipse in 1970. A partial eclipse is very interesting. It bears almost no relation to a total eclipse. Seeing a partial eclipse bears the same relation to seeing a total eclipse as kissing a man does to marrying him, or as flying in an airplane does to falling out of an airplane. Although the one experience precedes the other, it in no way prepares you for it.

It's a pretty great essay. And I'm now thinking about whether I can get to Tennessee or Kentucky or somewhere to be in the path of totality for this one.

Last edited by hambone,

Yes, Beech Bend would definitely be one of the best parks if you're looking to experience the eclipse in that setting. shows it being about a mile out of the totality zone, but it's very close to the center of the event, time wise. 99.985% obscuration. I have friends in BG; might be worth a visit to catch the eclipse along with a Kentucky Rumbler credit.

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2024, POP World Media, LLC