As with much of the country, Hope got its own taste of “Eclipse Mania” as scores of folks took to the outdoors at the noon hour Monday looking to catch a glimpse of the “Once in a Lifetime” celestial event.

As with much of the country, Hope got its own taste of “Eclipse Mania” as scores of folks took to the outdoors at the noon hour Monday looking to catch a glimpse of the “Once in a Lifetime” celestial event.
From Main Street in downtown Hope, where random onlookers merely ventured out into the streets, to the Hope Academy of Public Service, where Dr. Lester Sitzes III broke out his professional equipment, people could resist the allure of history, even if was just temporary.
At UA Hope, students in Mrs. Chelsea Slack’s noon hour class took a break to watch the event on the Internet on a big screen.
“I guess you could call it a bit of an obsession at this point,” said Bobby Brinkmeyer, who crafted his special welder’s lens into a make-shift safety scope with a cardboard box from the back of his truck outside Tailgaters. Brinkmeyer was ultimately successful in capturing a photo of the event with his unique contraption.
“That’s pretty darn, cool,” he said.
Brinkmeyer even shared his creation with patrons at the restaurant, literally standing at the front door, handing over his welder’s lens to anyone wanting to look, and many patrons did exactly that, walking in, walking out on Main Street, and then walking back in minutes later.
Right after 12 noon, dozens of otherwise restaurant patrons were wandering out on Main Street, including some of the Tailgater’s staff, literally flipping around their smartphones, trying in vain to get a good photo of the event.
One of those patrons, Sarah James, walked out and took a look, but wasn’t impressed saying “I really didn’t see anything but a bright light; I tried to take a picture with my phone but it was nothing but a bright blob.”
With his high powered equipment, Sitzes had more success than most at capturing the scene.  Sitzes, already a photography enthusiast, had ordered a special lens in front of the event, and shared his efforts with the students of HAPS.
“I remembered the eclipse from 1979 when I was in dental school, so I had a lot of interest in this.  I was thinking I wanted to share it with some kids, and we had a great time,” he said.
Sitzes, who enjoys wildlife photography, used his Nikon 900 with 83x zoom capabilities, or the equivalent of a 2000 mm DSL lens, along with special binoculars from the famous New York camera outlet B&H Photo.
Sitzes was able to capture three truly stunning photos of event, which he modestly said, “I think there are some pretty good shots.”
For some, like Bobby Brown, the big event seemed more like a non-event.
“It didn’t get that dark at all; just looked like another overcast day around here to me,” he said. “then the sun was back out and as hot as ever.”