Total Solar Eclipse | Denver Photography

August 21st, 2017 had been saved in my calendar for two years. My partner loves space and watches astronomical events closely so when we realized that a total solar eclipse would be within a couple hours of us, we knew we had to be there. We tried looking for hotels and airbnb’s near Casper, but they were either sold out or out of our price range. Then we found a campsite, in the path of totality and even closer than Casper. It was perfect, but I was a bit worried. We had never been camping together and I hadn’t been since I was a kid. We’ve been through far more stressful experiences together, so I knew we could handle it, even if I’m not the most outdoorsy person in the world.

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Camping turned out to be lots of fun. There were so many other people there who were excited to see the eclipse! Our camp was in an old rodeo arena and within walking distance of the Oregon Trail ruts. The ruts are where over time, the wagons carved a path in the rock as they traveled across Wyoming. It was incredible to see stone so clearly altered by humans, hundreds of years ago. And yes, there were lots of jokes about dying of dysentery!

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Even though our campsite was in the path of totality, we wanted to get even closer. We drove to a spot where we would be on the line of perfect totality. That means we would get an extra few seconds with the black hole in the sky. We were also near a bunch of cows, which I was really excited about. I wanted to see how animals reacted to the eclipse. The farm was very large and they were probably scared off by all the people, so I couldn’t really see them but I did hear them mooing!

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I was intent on experiencing the eclipse unencumbered but my partner wanted to photograph the event so I set up a camera and left him to it. I had another camera on a tripod taking video of the cows and the 360 degree sunset. You can watch the whole video below, just excuse the shakiness from when I picked it up to get a glimpse of the eclipse itself.

There is no way to describing the sight of a total solar eclipse, that would do it justice. I had seen so many photos and videos and heard from people who had seen them before and I was completely unprepared. And being near the path of totality, but not in it, is not even close.

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The “diamond ring” shot

As it got closer to 100%, it started getting darker around us, but not quite like the sun was setting. The sky looked hazy, and the sun was still visible, high in the sky. Then the sunset in all directions started to appear and we could hear the cows mooing and crickets chirping. But when it got to 100% totality, I immediately started crying. It was the most incredible sight. We had about two and half minutes of totality, but I don’t think any amount of time would have been enough. As the sun came out from behind the moon, I was able to see the “diamond ring” effect and my partner was able to capture it! I then raced over to the nearest white car to see the “shadow bands,” the snake like shadows from the edge of the sun shining through the moon’s mountains and valleys. And just like that, it was over and we had to head home.

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A composite showing the sun’s corona

The trip home was not quite as easy as the way there. It took us 8 hours to get home. It would have taken 2-3 hours normally. Eventually, we made it back to Colorado and stopped in Fort Collins for some much needed tacos. We already have plans for the next one to go through the U.S., seven years from now!

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Wanna meet me and chat? Send me an email at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

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Road Trip Gone Wrong | Colorado Day in the Life Photographer

First of all, meet Desi, the blue Suburu. Last month, Mike, Desi, and I went on road trip. It was our first vacation together and we were so excited to see some National Parks and wander around some ghost towns and all that. I tried to document the trip with my camera, as well as time lapses and phone photos.

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We drove out to Utah and went on a hike in Arches National Park. We got to explore Moab a bit and see the delicate arch during sunset. Then we stayed in the sweetest AirBnB and drove south toward Mesa Verde in the morning. We listened to ’90s and ’00s music the whole time. I tried to sing along, but Mike was not having any of that. I did catch him doing a little dance though!

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Just before, turning to cross back into Colorado, Desi started sounding… questionable. We came to a stop at the only red light in miles, and the car died. In Montecello, UT. Which is basically the middle of nowhere, but we did get to kill some time playing games in the dollar store while we waited for a tow truck. The tow truck driver hitched us up and started towing us to Durango, the nearest town with a Suburu dealership.

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As we were driving into Colorado, we noticed that the pick up truck ahead of us was swerving on to the rumble strips and changing his speed a lot. We were about to call *277 (the drunk driver/road rage hotline in CO), but before we could dial, we came over a hill and the pick up truck smashed into a tractor. The tractor flipped over pinning the farmer under it.

As I called 911, Mike (who was a volunteer firefighter back in New York state) and the tow truck driver rushed to help the man. We were there for two hours as the police showed up, the ambulance got there, an off-duty nurse tried to help, we tried to pull the tractor off with the tow truck. Eventually, with the help of the local fire department and EMTs, the tractor was lifted off the farmer and he was transferred to the ambulance.

Once they opened the road again, we drove to Durango in near silence. I didn’t take any photos for this part. We still had a broke down car on a holiday weekend, far from home. We got to the dealership just before they closed for the weekend. They couldn’t look at Desi until Tuesday (it was Saturday), and that weekend just happened to be the town’s busiest weekend of the year. Two Suburu employees stayed late to help us find the last room in town and then drove us there. We checked into the hotel, got some much needed food, and passed out for the night.

When we woke up, Mike was researching common issues with the car and racking his brain trying to figure out what was going on. We found a place that could rent a car to us and even pick us up, but Mike wanted to look at Desi first, so we took the hotel shuttle back to the dealership.

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He opened her up, fiddled around a bit, and less then a minute later, he looked at me. This is apparently his “I know what’s wrong and I know how to fix it” face. So , we walked to Sears to get the tools we needed. Luckily, the store was only about a mile away because he had to go back again, when he realized he bought the  wrong tools.

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Many swear words and a few cut up hands later, Mike had Desi all fixed up! She worked just like new! For a while… (By the way, Desi IS new. He bought her right off the line in March!)

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Turns out, he didn’t quite put everything back together correctly, but once we found the problem, it was an easy fix and we were on our way home again. Finally!

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Here’s a compilation of all the time-lapses and phone photos from the trip.

I have to say, in the end this trip was an amazing experience. Through everything that went wrong and all the awful emotions felt, my faith in humanity was restored as everyone we met took the time and effort to help us however they could. It also made me more sure than ever that this relationship we’re in is strong. We lost our patience with each other a couple times (mostly because I just kept taking pictures and Mike just kept buying the wrong tools!), but we were supportive and together through it all. Plus, we got to see many amazing parts of the Rocky Mountains!

Wanna meet me and chat sometime? Send me an email at jamie@jamiekraus.com.

Summer Travel | Dance and Family Photographer

It’s almost summer and that means lots of traveling! I travel two different ways. The first is traveling to visit friends or family. The second is traveling to a place where I know no one and exploring on my own. I’ve done plenty of the first kind, but it has been so long since I’ve gone somewhere new and discovered it for myself. This summer, I am going to a bunch of new places and I am so excited.

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N’Jelle Gage-Thorne in Rochester, NY

I love traveling! It is so much fun to explore an unfamiliar place, plus, it is a wonderful opportunity to work with people I would not otherwise be able to work with. I will be available for dance photography and storytelling sessions everywhere I am traveling this summer. So, if you live in any of the places below, send me a message and we’ll see what we can get set up!

Places I will be exploring this summer and fall.

  • May 27nd – 30th: Road Trip to Moab, Durango, Silverton, and everywhere in between
  • July 8th -10th: Cleveland
  • August 15th – 22nd: Breckenridge
  • September 2nd – 5th: New Orleans
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The Mason Family in Denver, CO

Places I will probably visit this summer but don’t have planned yet. If you want to book Chicago dance photography or Chicago family photography, let me know and I can plan my visit around it!

  • TBD: Chicago
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Trinity Bobo in Chicago, IL

Upcoming potential trips for the future!

  • May 2017: Boston
  • August 2017: North Carolina
  • Fall 2018: South Africa
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The Balansoff Family Reunion in Ohio

Do live in any of these places? I would love to photograph you. Fill out the form below so we can get started!