Capturing the Eclipse: Jamie Walter and Will Strathmann

Photographer Jamie Walter had a vision to capture the total solar eclipse 10 years ago. His cosmic dream finally became a reality, calling on the help of his colleague Will Strathmann to help capture it.

Capturing the Eclipse: Jamie Walter and Will Strathmann

In 2014, Jamie Walter was an in-house photographer at Sugarloaf Mountain, a mountain he knew well and skied on for much of his life. When he discovered there would be a solar eclipse in 2024 with a path of totality in Maine, he began concocting a plan to capture a skier mid-run, beneath the sun, at the moment of the eclipse.

If you witnessed this cosmic event, you would have noticed how high the sun sat in the sky during the eclipse. This was the single biggest challenge Jamie faced. For the weeks leading up to the big event, he studied satellite imagery of Sugarloaf and topography maps, location scouting the mountain to find the right angles and positioning for the image he hoped to capture. The idea was to shoot a skier as close to the eclipse as possible; he needed to find a place with just the right pitch to get the skier above his position as the photographer, a steep slope with the correct aspect and view. It was about 38 degrees above the horizon at the start of totality.

Using augmented reality, Jamie was able to plan the shoot so it could go as perfectly as possible.

Sugarloaf offered Jamie their full support, helping him find the perfect location for this creative endeavor. Another supporter of this event was Stio, a sponsor of Jamie’s who offered kits (outerwear) for all his models to wear. As he geared up for shoot day, Jamie called on a close colleague of his, Will Strathmann, to capture videography and document behind-the-scenes of the event. They knew they were in a unique position, as Maine had the best weather outlook of the entire US. The stars, literally and figuratively, were aligning.

On the day of the eclipse, Jamie had 5 skiers lined up to shoot with because they would have 2 minutes and 18 seconds of totality in their location and there wouldn’t be enough time for a single athlete to hike back up the mountain. When the time came for the actual shot, Jamie opted for a Canon EOS R5, Canon 70-200 @ 145mm, f/5.6, 1/160, ISO 400, with a flash placed behind the skiers to illuminate them against the darker sky.

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Photos like this one have gone viral, leaving thousands stunned at this impressive creative feat.

Will shot on a RED Raptor and a Canon 600 mm lens shooting in 8K 120 fps. Will captured a moment that mixed immense preparation with creative passion. As he put it, “My BTS footage of the totality is pretty feral. It’s impossible to contain your emotions and excitement during totality. There is nothing that compares to it. So much of what Jamie and I wanted to capture was the spirit of skiing in this once-in-a-lifetime moment and also the raw, cinematic nature of totality with the 8K RED footage.”


Will captured the moment of totality on film during this impactful shoot.

In the moments before the eclipse, the team was hyper-focused, ensuring all the preparation they had done would be enough to bring this vision to life. The skiers set themselves up and the countdown began. Everyone was in position, ready to go, and the timer went off. The skier in the final image is Jamie’s little brother, Mac Walter. He came down the run at the right moment, just beneath the sun at full eclipse, allowing Jamie to capture the money shot. The final photograph was captured under near-perfect conditions, no Photoshop or double exposure was needed. Jamie’s photo of the solar eclipse is a stunning portrayal of a moment he’d been waiting for for nearly a decade. The photo has gone viral on social media, opening new doors and creative conversations. We can’t wait to see Jamie’s next epic project!