Seattle photographer chases eclipses around the world

A Seattle photographer's hobby has taken him around the world and allowed him to witness many versions of an event that will wow the Northwest on Monday.

For many people, Monday's eclipse will be their first, but for a Seattle photographer, it will be the latest in a series of celestial events which have taken him around the world over the past 40 years.

“I spent many nights in a rice paddy in some farmer's field or the Egyptian desert just to try to see what I want to see,” said Richard Departee, a former KING 5 photojournalist.

He estimates he's seen four total eclipses, four lunar eclipses, and several partial eclipses. There was Indonesia in 1983; Goldendale, Washington in 1979; and on Monday, he'll add another to his list.

“Eclipses are very dramatic, and there's an emotional component, for sure. If you haven't seen one and you're paying attention, it is truly awe inspiring,” Departee said.

It's pretty easy to plan for an eclipse using today’s technology, but years ago, he had to do a lot of research and make sure he brought all his maps and materials with him to far-off places.

“After 40 years you collect quite a bit of data, and I never throw anything away,” Departee said while thumbing through old journals documenting past eclipses.

Monday will be special because the eclipse is so close to home. Departee plans to be in Oregon and says he won't take too many photos because this is an eclipse he just wants to experience in the moment.

More stories on KING 5 Solar Eclipse Section

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