NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In the hot July sun, a group of three photographers trekked a mile of hot pavement to find the best location to photograph the Total Solar Eclipse.
They searched for an area where the sun hangs over the city in such a way they can capture the perfect shot.
It was just after 2:00 in the afternoon, less than a month before the August 21 total solar eclipse. Vinit Modi, Quinn Kananack and Rick Montgomery have all been thinking about the same two minute period for months.
"What we're trying to do here is understand where the sun is at this moment right now," said Modi, a hobbyist photographer who's developed a following of nearly 95,000 followers on the social media app Instagram. "People looking at the solar eclipse from Nashville might expect to find a Nashville element to it. Just capturing that with the eclipse is the really tricky part."
The other two are both hobbyist photographers at well. Montgomery has a side business shooting real estate and family portraits. Kananack shares Modi's passion for shooting landscapes of Music City. He has a sizable social media following as well.
The trio sauntered over the Cumberland River on Korean Veterans Boulevard, stopping briefly to examine a scenic angle near the northern end of the bridge.
"I don't think the sun is going to come anywhere close to here," said Kananack as he set up his camera.
"Capturing any element of the skyline and the sun together will need us to get real up close to those buildings and get a 180 or 90 degree elevation," added Modi.
As the group captures some images and compares where the sun might be during the eclipse, they talk about challenges they might face the day of the astronomical event. Crowds are expected in the hundreds of thousands and many other photographers will likely be looking for interesting shots when the moon casts its shadow across the city.
"Probably Nashville is one of the biggest cities on the whole trail of this eclipse. People are coming from all over the world to Nashville," said Modi.
Besides scouting locations, all three photographers sought advice from one of Nashville's professional photographer stores. Dury's Camera has pros that are planning on shooting the eclipse as well, such as sales associate Ken Gray.
"I don't have a lot of solar in stock," said Gray. Solar filters are coverings for cameras lenses that protect sensors from light rays when directly photographing the sun. The filters seem to be opaque until held between the sun and the naked eye. "It's such a specialized filter that, if you can't return the ones you sell to the manufacturer, you're stuck with them forever."
The filters are similar to ones used in solar glasses many people will wear the day of the eclipse.
Having moved on from the bridge location, Modi, Kananack and Montgomery all head further North along the riverfront by Titans stadium. The eclipse will be high in the sky at 1:27:17 when the moon will totally cover the sun, shrouding the city in darkness. The three photographers surmise they will need to be Northwest of the city to capture both the cityscape and the solar eclipse in one shot.
"This is probably be a real cool spot for viewing. As you can see, the sun is way up at 90 degrees in terms of the whole skyline. So, it may be difficult for us to guage and get some elements of Nashville," said Modi.
The group expects they will meet at least one more time to finalize a location before the day of the eclipse.