From NH to SC – eclipse chaser captures the sun in all its ‘crowning’ glory

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The diamond ring effect of the eclipse. Photo/Bob Lapree

My family and I (11 total) traveled to Charleston, S.C., for the event. As the morning of the eclipse progressed, the weather forecasts were showing that our location would likely have considerable cloudiness and thunder storms (turns out it did rain and our location lost electricity).

So it was time to go to plan “B”!! A quick check of sites further inland, where the clouds and rain would be less likely. I checked a few locations that were hosting viewing events and found South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, which was just 40 miles away and had good visitor facilities.

So we all piled into several vehicles and dashed up the interstate arriving an hour before the beginning of the show – this is why it’s called “eclipse chasing.”

Eclipse corona (Spanish for “crown.”) Photo/Bob LaPree

We found a great spot on campus under a nice shade tree and across from the stadium, which had plenty of facilities and even the school’s marching band. The next 2 ½ hours were a delight. The clouds dissipated and we were treated to 2:36 seconds of total eclipse, a celestial event beyond compare.

The hooting and hollering from the stadium and those of us in the field added to the intensity of the event. After totality ended people were all excited to see the results of the picture taking. Several folks took pictures of some of my shots off my monitor – a real community event.

So just remember in 2024 another eclipse will be in our neighborhood – crossing the NH/Quebec border at the Fourth Connecticut Lake in Pittsburg.


Bob LaPree has been a photojournalist in New Hampshire for more than 45 years, working with stills, film and video. Since retiring after 25 years at the New Hampshire Union Leader he has been revisiting video production and pursuing his lifelong enjoyment of nature photography.He has always appreciated how effective photographic images can convey a wealth of information and draw out many feelings of the viewer. Photography can not only inform, but can also be an impetus for raising awareness of important issues.