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Eclipse Travelers From Japan Find Perfect Spot In Casper Yard

Astronomical photographer Shigemi Numazawa makes adjustments to equipment in a central Casper yard on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. The cameras and telescopes use tracking systems to compensate for the Earth's rotation and have to be precisely adjusted, said Numazawa. He is with a group of eclipse watchers who traveled from Japan for the experience. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

A group of nearly a dozen visitors from Japan mingled in the front yard of a 1920s-era brick home in a central Casper neighborhood on Sunday afternoon.

Among them was a fantastic amount of astronomical, camera and video equipment.

The house had been rented on Airbnb by Keith Fujiyoshi, who lives in Los Angeles and was tasked with handling logistics for the group of tourists. They not only decided the house would make a nice place to stay for a few days, but the front lawn a great place to watch and photograph the eclipse on Monday. “We looked all over but decided this is the best set up,” said Fujiyoshi.

Weather and lodging played a big roll in the group’s decision to base in Casper. The group flew into Denver and rented a van and will stay through Tuesday, said Fujiyoshi.

Along with amateur eclipse tourists in group were a some very experienced eyes. Respected astronomical photographer Shigemi Numazawa and three others with him are using state-of-the-art equipment to shoot video on the eclipse in 4K high definition. They’ll also be making high quality still photos. The men are on contract with Japan’s public broadcasting network NHK for a documentary. Another NHK crew is based in Idaho during this event, according to Numazawa.

Numazawa isn’t quite sure how many eclipses he’s witnessed. “I forget. Maybe 17, maybe 18,” laughs Numazawa. Last year the crew was in Indonesia for an eclipse.

The NHK crew is using 24 cameras during the event. “There are many kinds of phenomena during total,” said Numazawa. The calibration and preparedness is important. “Just one time, you can’t miss it,” he said.

Keith Fujiyoshi, center, flies a small drone at a house in central Casper on Sunday afternoon. Fujiyoshi lives in Los Angeles and arranged the travel logistics for a group of Eclipse tourists from Japan. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
A 4K resolution monitor shows a live video feed of the sun from one of the cameras and telescopes set up by a group of eclipse tourists from Japan on Sunday afternoon in a central Casper neighborhood. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
A group of eclipse tourists from Japan set up their equipment in the yard of a rented home in central Casper on Sunday afternoon. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)