2024 Total Solar Eclipse

After experiencing totality in 2017, we needed to see another one. It was so much more than just seeing the moon pass in front of the sun. It was a mesmerizing feeling in your soul.

This time, though, the path wasn’t coming through the Pacific NW. After a bit of research, I had decided that Killeen, Texas was the place we should go. Totality was going to be over 4 minutes and the weather should be perfect for viewing the eclipse.

FUN FACT: A solar eclipse can only happen during a new moon


Travel Plans

A year prior to the eclipse date, I booked our hotel. I had hoped to stay in an Airbnb, but they were outrageously priced. Instead, I found a basic hotel in Temple. What I didn’t do was book airfare in advance. We own a business that requires someone on site and our 3 kids lives are fluid, so I just wasn’t sure of logistics until the date got closer. By the time I was ready to book airfare, the prices had skyrocketed – enough so that we contemplated not going. Instead, we flew into Albuquerque and turned it into a road trip.

Texas Weather

A week or two before the eclipse the weather was looking like it could be iffy during the event. We chose not to talk about it much since there wasn’t anything we could do about it anyway. If it didn’t work out, at least I could still check off having been to New Mexico and Texas – since I hadn’t visited those states previously.

A few days leading up to the eclipse date weather reports were showing thunderstorms pretty much throughout the path of totality in Texas.

The morning of the eclipse we looked outside to discover thick clouds blanketing the sky for as far as we could see. The weather apps showed the storm arriving a little later further to the north. So, we headed north. To stay in the path of totality we couldn’t go too far, though.

We ended up at a boat ramp at Aquilla Lake in Hillsboro, Texas. It was about as perfect as we could get for a last minute location change. It was fairly gray and cloudy when we arrived, but gradually cleared up.

When we got to the lake there were a few fishermen, but we were the first eclipse watchers. Over the next couple hours more eclipse enthusiasts showed up. We met people from the east coast, southern Texas, Canada, and Italy. Similar to what I remember from last time – the comradery and excitement from the crowd was infectious. 




While we impatiently waited for the magic moment, I photographed flowers and birds. I was super antsy to see what the weather was going to do and was trying to keep busy.


Aquilla Lake in Hillsboro, Texas | OK Which Way
Blue Heron, Cardinal, and Black Vultures



The clouds had mostly cleared up by the time the moon started its path across the sun. So, we put on our eclipse glasses and enjoyed the beginning of the event.



Last time I photographed an eclipse I realized too late that I had the wrong filter on my camera to achieve the shots I was hoping to get. I was using a polarizing filter, as opposed to a solar filter. Guess what I did this time… same damn thing. When I bought my new camera a couple years ago, I purchased a filter. I didn’t even double check before we left for Texas that it was actually the correct filter. Spoiler – it wasn’t the right one. It was another polarizing filter. Clearly I don’t use filters in my normal photography outings. So I ended up doing the same thing I did last time, which was to hold eclipse glasses in front of the camera lens. It’s a little wonky, but it works ok – the two images below are from using this method.


2024 Total Solar Eclipse in Hillsboro, Texas | OK Which Way
12:47pm | 1:01pm


As totality was approaching clouds began moving in. They weren’t super thick and ended up diffusing the brightness of the sun so that I could take some photos without using the eclipse glasses as a filter.

2024 Total Solar Eclipse in Hillsboro, Texas | OK Which Way


Because I didn’t have the correct filter, several of my shots were a little weird. But, some of them turned out kinda cool.



The last sliver of sun before totality. And then, BOOM a big, gray cloud plopped itself right in front of the sun/moon combo. The timing couldn’t have been worse. We missed the best part which is that second totality begins.

2024 Total Solar Eclipse in Hillsboro, Texas | OK Which Way



Over half way through totality the cloud finally moved on and we were treated to a fabulous show.

2024 Total Solar Eclipse in Hillsboro, Texas | OK Which Way

The third contact phase just barely beginning

2024 Total Solar Eclipse in Hillsboro, Texas | OK Which Way


2024 Total Solar Eclipse in Hillsboro, Texas | OK Which Way


2024 Total Solar Eclipse in Hillsboro, Texas | OK Which Way




A few more shots with the eclipse glasses as the moon moved past the sun. This stage is known as fourth contact.

2024 Total Solar Eclipse in Hillsboro, Texas | OK Which Way
1:52pm | 2:15pm



An eclipse chaser is known as an Umbraphile



I have mixed emotions about this eclipse experience. I am so bummed about the timing of that cloud. Our 4 minutes in totality was downgraded to maybe 90 seconds. On the other hand, I am incredibly grateful for those 90 seconds. When we woke up that morning, we were prepared to not see any of the eclipse phases – and we ended up seeing all them all.

Although this experience wasn’t all I had hoped it to be, it’s not discouraging me from chasing a 3rd eclipse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>