ascribable to the rarity of the consequence, the shortstop duration in which to capture it, and the dynamic nature of the subject, it is one of those photographic opportunities that requires the proper gearing, frame-up, planning, and rehearse .
Above photograph © Todd Vorenkamp
I can not emphasize the former sentence adequate. Plan your eclipse photography, have the right gear, and commit, drill, practice on the non-eclipsed sun before the big event.
Reading: How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse
- 1 Safety First
- 2 Enjoyment Second
- 3 Basic Gear
- 4 Gear: Solar Filters
- 5 Gear: Lenses and Focal Length
- 6 Gear: Digiscoping
- 7 Camera Settings: Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO…and Bracket!
- 8 Composition Tips
- 9 Shooting the Eclipse: Telephoto Lens
- 10 Shooting the Eclipse: Wide(r) Angle View
- 11 Shooting the Eclipse: Projection Viewing/Imaging
- 12 A Baker’s Dozen General Tips
DO NOT look at the sun with your naked eyes. Permanent damage to your eyesight, and even blindness, may result. ALWAYS wear certified solar wake glasses when viewing the sunday before, during, and after an eclipse. We have all glanced at the sunday, but prolonged vulnerability causes permanent damage. During an eclipse, when the moon covers a helping of the sun, the intensity of the light remains constant. The merely time it is safe to look toward the sun with the bare eye is during the brief period of entirety at the height of a sum overshadow of the sun .
DO NOT point a camera at the sun unless the optics are fitted with a certifiable solar filter. Optics can magnify the intensity and brightness of sunlight, and this can cause damage to your equipment .
DO NOT look through the finder of an unfiltered SLR television camera when it is pointed at or near the sun because of the increase in saturation and brightness of the sunlight passing through magnifying optics .
DO NOT look through the finder of a rangefinder television camera when it is pointed at or near the sun, as the ocular finder will not protect your eyes from the sunlight ’ second damaging clean .
DO NOT point an unfiltered digital camera at the sunday and use be opinion or an electronic finder, due to the possibility of focusing concentrated, unfiltered sunlight at your television camera ’ mho detector .
A partial solar eclipse breaks through the clouds over San Diego. Todd Vorenkamp
A solar overshadow is not an casual event. Some people will go their integral lives without witnessing one. Some will travel far and wide to try to see one or more in a lifetime—especially for rare total solar eclipses .
so, what you DO not want to do is spend an integral eclipse event messing around with your camera gear or viewing it wholly through a camera ’ sulfur finder or on an LCD blind .
look at the eclipse. Enjoy it with your own ( protected ) eyes. arsenic amazing as it would be to get a big photograph, I promise you that you will have a life of regrets if you miss the hale indicate because you are hyper-focused on photographing the event .
I have friends who have viewed eclipses only through a television camera finder and I feel blue for them. The one clock I was present for a entire solar eclipse, my best views and know, by far, were in viewing sum through a pair of unfiltered premium 8×42 bird binoculars. There was a jewel-like surrealness to the view that was decidedly not present in my images, or on my digital finder. I am so beaming that I took myself aside from the camera to see the eclipse with my own magnify eyes. The adjacent time I am at a total solar eclipse, I plan to spend more time with the binoculars .
Be present !
now that we have that stuff out of the means, let ’ s look at how to get the blast !
Diamond-ring effect Todd Vorenkamp
1. eclipse glasses. You ’ ll need these for a pair of reasons. a ) You ’ ll want to view the eclipse with your own eyes and, barn ) you ’ ll need them to better aim your camera at the sun .
Solar viewing glasses 2. television camera. You do not need a professional DSLR television camera to photograph the eclipse. In fact, any television camera will do, depending on how you want to capture the event. You merely need to take the proper precautions to protect the television camera ( and your eyes ) .
Digital camera 3. Tripod. The sunday is beyond bright, then, when photographing the overtone phases of an eclipse, you don ’ metric ton technically need a television camera back to avoid camera handshake, because your shutter speeds will be very short. however, during totality, the sun is blocked out, which basically means that you are photographing in iniquity. here is some farther read on gear needed for nox photography, to amply prepare you for these conditions. besides, since the eclipse happens over a load of time, you may not want to be holding a heavy camera outfit for minutes or hours at a fourth dimension .
Tripod 4. remote control shutter secrete. When it gets iniquity, your shutter speeds will fall and you ’ ll want to trigger your camera remotely with a cable release, electronic release, or mobile device to prevent camera judder and smear of your images .
Shutter remote control
Gear: Solar Filters
When photographing the sun, you will need a solar trickle for your television camera and lens. The only clock the filter is not needed is when the sun is wholly obscured by the moon during the sum assign of a sum solar eclipse .
Solar filter several on-line tutorials mention using a inert density filter or stacking inert density ( ND ) filters. I ONLY recommend using a properly designated solar filter. I am not alone in this recommendation. Experts at NASA, the National Science Foundation, the american Astronomical Society, Nikon, Space.com, Sky & Telescope magazine, and others all recommend solar filters alternatively of neutral concentration filters. Why ? Because these are the only filters designed specifically for viewing the sun, and they are constructed to not only sufficiently dim the sunlight, but they besides protect your eyes and equipment from non-visible IR and UV radiation. solar photography is NOT the time to experiment with homemade filtration concoctions, like stacking polarizers and ND filters, in an campaign to save a few bucks .
A solar filter on the front of a Nikon 300mm f/4 lens Todd Vorenkamp There are some ND filters out there marketed for solar photography. If you are looking for this type of trickle, it looks like the consensus among brands is that 16-stops is the minimum military capability for a percolate. In comparing unlike brands, there was a dramatic difference between the light transmission of one brand ’ s 16.5-stop percolate and a competing brand. This concerns me a bit. Use at your own risk !
WARNING: Do NOT use these ND filters with an ocular finder ! many come with fine-print on their packaging, so use due application and stick to using your live View mode or an electronic finder. Your safest option is a solar percolate, but the ocular glass ND filter may have early uses besides solar photography .
When it comes to solar filters, you have several options : filter sheet, screw-on movement filter, or a solar trickle that mounts between the television camera and lens on an interchangeable-lens apparatus .
Filter Sheet Mylar white-light solar filters come in different shapes and sizes. Some are round and have tether holes to secure to your camera and/or lens. many veteran observers besides use sheets of # 14 Welder ’ s Glass, which they mount or hold in front of the television camera .
A Mylar filter on the front of a Leica APO Televid 77 spotting scope Todd Vorenkamp Screw-On Filter These white-light filters thread on your television camera lens just like a standard threaded filter. however, they are designed for solar observe. Some are made of Mylar film inside of a filter call, and others are made from ocular field glass. Pay attention to the ticket print ; some ocular filter brands state that you should not look through an optical finder or eyepiece while using them—they are for electronic viewfinders or LCD screens only .
If a screw-on filter does not have the correct diameter for your choose lens, you can simply employ a increase ring and adapt the larger filter to your smaller lens .
Step-up ring The color of the sunlight in your images is dependant on the type of white-light solar filter used. Metal-coated glass and black polymer filters result in a jaundiced or orange tint. Aluminized mylar filters show a blue sun. # 14 Welder ’ south Glass creates a green visualize .
Intermediate Filter Intermediate filters are designed for solar imaging. They mount between your lens and your television camera. The design of the optics filters out unlike wavelengths of alight, allowing you to see contingent on the surface of the sun that is not visible with standard white-light solar filters .
WARNING: Regardless of the trickle organization you employ, take worry to ensure the filter does not accidently come off your swindle while photographing the sunday .
Restated to emphasize : Filters are needed at all times for solar wake, except during the stature of a total solar overshadow. so, when photographing the sunday during totality, you should remove your filters. More on this later .
The corona of the sun and a nearby star Todd Vorenkamp
Gear: Lenses and Focal Length
When we think of the noon sun disk overhead, we envision it filling the sky with brilliant light. The truth is that even though the sun is 864,000 miles wide ( 109 times the size of Earth ), the fact that it is approximately 93 million miles off means that it appears to be about the lapp size as the Moon in our skies. Don ’ thyroxine believe me ? just expect at a solar eclipse to see how the moon, when it is at or near its closest border on to Earth ( perigee ), blocks out the entire sun. ( When the moon is far from Earth ( apogee ), the result is a overtone obstruction of the sun during what is called an annular solar overshadow. )
What this means is that, with a fisheye lens, the sun is very small in your frame. With a standard-length telephotograph lens, the sunlight is slenderly larger, but not frame-filling. To fill your finder, you will likely need to go well past a 300mm focal distance lens .
During the total overshadow of the sun, when the umbral shadow passes over the observer, the sunlight ’ s corona, normally invisible to the bare eye, is abruptly visible and it extends well away from the open of the sun. so, an extreme telephotograph lens may cause you to crop out meaning portions of the corona. Keep this in mind when selecting a lens for an eclipse image. A focal length between 500mm and 1000mm will allow you to capture most of the corona while keeping the sun a good size in the frame .
Do some research on-line by looking at the thousands of images of solar eclipses available on photograph sites. many have information on the gear used to capture a particular picture, including television camera type, lens focal length, and exposure settings .
Eclipse composite Todd Vorenkamp A popular approach is to capture the many phases of the overshadow and some scenic foreground detail with a standard focal length lens or a standard telephotograph. You do not have to go out and buy an extreme telephotograph to capture a beautiful effigy of a solar eclipse, but if you are looking for a telephotograph lens on a budget that reaches farther than your trustworthy kit out lenses, consider the relatively cheap catadioptric mirror lens for solar watch. These lenses are small, light, and easily portable .
Digiscoping is a popular direction to photograph the sun and solar eclipses. many telescopes and spotting scopes allow cameras to be affixed to the scopes via adapters. additionally, you can merely hold a mobile device television camera or point-and-shoot to the eyepiece of a scope or binoculars for fooling digiscoping. The advantage of digiscoping is that, like with a mirror lens, you can achieve high levels of enlargement without a lot of the expense of an alien photographic telephotograph lens .
Spotting scope Unless you are digiscoping through a dedicate solar viewing telescope, you must use a solar percolate for imaging the sunday. Some spotting scopes or telescopes have threaded battlefront openings that allow the fastening of screw-in filters, and others have solar-viewing eyepieces. If your scope international relations and security network ’ t threaded, you can cover the objective lens with a filter sheet ( described above ) .
Digiscoping the sun with a Leica APO Televid 77 spotting scope, eyepiece adapter, and FUJIFILM X-T2 camera Todd Vorenkamp
Camera Settings: Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO…and Bracket!
During the progress from direct sunlight to the altitude of a entire solar overshadow, the light will promptly change from wide daylight to twilight-like darkness. For the photographer, this is a blessing and a excommunicate. The unaccented truly will not change dramatically until the overshadow approaches sum, so your camera settings can be static for a huge helping of the event—a good thing. The hex is that, when the eclipse show is at its most excite, the luminosity will be changing cursorily, and you must be ready to adapt. bummer !
The view on the LCD screen of the FUJIFILM camera and a 1500mm-equivalent Leica APO Televid 77 spotting scope Todd Vorenkamp fortunately for all of us, overshadow photographers have given us some capital exposure guidelines on which to base our settings, so we can efficiently prepare for the show .
When the eclipse reaches totality and you have removed your solar filter from your camera, this is the prison term to start bracketing your shots heavily. Use the exposure template as precisely that, a template. Bracket, bracket, and bracket some more. According to experts, there is a huge 12-stop active stove from the corona discharge at the sun ’ s surface to the out edges of the corona. Shoot a long ton of shots at unlike exposures. When you post-process later, you can choose the matchless that looks best. But, during this rare of events, do not merely lock into one vulnerability and take a bunch together of evenly exposed images .
My favorite solar eclipse photo ever Todd Vorenkamp When it comes to ISO, you should set your television camera to its native ISO—the lowest un-boosted ISO set. Research the Web for your make and mannequin and the native ISO of your detail camera .
|TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE EXPOSURE SETTING GUIDELINES|
|Outer Corona||1/4||1/2||1 sec.||2 sec.||4 sec.|
here are some extra settings to consider for your overshadow photograph .
1. DO NOT USE A FLASH. When the sunday is out, the flash is useless. When the sunlight is obscured and all is dark, your flash will not illuminate the colored side of the moonlight, but it will annoy those around you trying to enjoy the spectacle. besides, by popping a flare, you will prove to everyone present that you don ’ metric ton read this blog and, consequently, have no mind what you are doing with your camera .
2. Stock up on memory cards and fritter sensitive files. Have sufficient memory to handle a batch of raw images if you choose to lie down on the shutter secrete .
3. Use mirror lock-up on an SLR television camera to minimize vibration .
4. Don ’ metric ton be afraid to underexpose by a hold on or two, or more. Avoid blown-out highlights. Use the highlight “ blinkies ” if your television camera has them .
5. Take an episodic glance at your histogram to verify exposure .
6. Use alive view or an electronic finder for the “ what you see is what you get ” advantage. It is besides safer for your eyes to NOT be looking through an ocular finder if you ignored my advice about securely mounting a percolate .
If you are photographing the sun ( and the eclipsing new moonlight ) as the only national in your double, you can surely center the sunday in the frame. But, feel loose to place your subject using the rule of thirds, or rate it somewhere else in the frame of reference for potentially dramatic effects or a unique look .
You don’t have to center the sun in the frame. Todd Vorenkamp If you are shooting a fisheye image and want to include some foreground detail, be certain that whatever you include in the foreground will not block the way of the sunlight, and be careful not to let that scenery dominate the scene—the dramatic display of this rare consequence will focus all attention on the solar overshadow. besides, with a solar percolate in place, the foreground scenery will not show up in a photograph, so you will likely need to make multiple exposures .
Corona and a diamond Todd Vorenkamp
Shooting the Eclipse: Telephoto Lens
Of course, you can just wait for totality, point your camera at the sun and moon, and snap a photograph, but you will likely want to capture all the fantastic phases of the solar eclipse. This means you will need to track the sun across the sky for a few hours, and keep tear as the eclipse moves toward entirety and then back toward a wax sunday on the other slope .
This is where planning comes in. How many photos do you want to take ? Should you divide the eclipse up into peer parts by prison term and capture, for example, one visualize every six minutes before and after totality ? many photographers put together beautiful montages showing the progression of the eclipse through its entire hertz. If you are planning on a collage or image series, you will want a hearty crippled plan going into the event. For those planning multiple exposures, know that the Earth ’ s rotation causes the sun to move the distance of one solar diameter through the sky approximately every two minutes .
besides, you have to track the sunlight across the sky—either manually by hand or on a tripod, or with an electronic chase telescope mount. One advantage of the mount is that, if used correctly, the sun will remain at a constant position through your frames and you will not have to work to manually track the event .
here is the standard progress :
1. The overshadow approaches, you attach the solar trickle to your lens and start by shooting the fully sun, and then continue to shoot as the moon intercepts the sun ’ sulfur light .
2. once the sun is wholly obscure, you must then remove your filtration and photograph totality without a filter—capturing the amazing sight. The start of entirety is indicated by the celebrated “ ball field ring ” impression. During sum, you can remove your solar filtration ( and solar glasses ). The rhombus rings should be photographed and can be viewed without filtration .
3. At the end of totality, when the second baseball diamond ring appears, replace your filters and continue to shoot as the lunar month slides clear of the sun .
This wide-angle shot was captured with a 12mm lens on my FUJIFILM X-T1. Todd Vorenkamp
Shooting the Eclipse: Wide(r) Angle View
The profit of using a normal focal length lens or a non-super telephotograph is the ability to include some surrounding scenery in the foreground of your eclipse image ( second ). This is particularly cool if you are shooting the sunlight before a outstanding batch range, rock geological formation, man-made landmark, something else visually complimentary, or something that provides a feel of placement .
The progress will be the like as above, but you will besides have to capture images that are exposed for your foreground as, during totality, all will be dark .
Again, inquiry is the key here. No two scenes will be precisely alike a far as light, typography, and the position of the overshadow are concerned. many photographers shoot with two cameras ( or more ) during an eclipse, to capture the celestial show from different perspectives and to improve their chances of getting a memorable persona, or series of images .
Shooting the Eclipse: Projection Viewing/Imaging
There are many ways you can create a pinhole camera obscura to project an visualize of the eclipse on a secondary coat. This can be done using optics like a telescope or binoculars, or it can be done merely by putting a small hole in the center of a objet d’art of structure newspaper .
sparkle passes through the “ lens ” and a black and white image of the overshadow will appear on your surface. This camera obscura trope can be photographed by any television camera, even a mobile telephone television camera, without any filtration .
“First contact” Todd Vorenkamp
A Baker’s Dozen General Tips
1. See “SAFETY FIRST,” above .
2. See “ENJOYMENT SECOND,” above .
3. DO NOT USE YOUR FLASH. AT ALL. flush WHEN IT IS DARK .
4. Bring extra batteries. Charge them the night before and bring at least one more than you think you need. How amazing would it be to run out of world power just before the show ?
5. Bring extra memory for the same argue. Pack a secret memory calling card in your cup of tea that you can reach for if you took way more photos than you planned .
6. If you do not have an accurate eternity unvoiced stop on your lens, pre-focus your television camera and lens at eternity and lock the focus or use old-timer tape to keep it from changing, if you can .
7. For good sake, again, DO NOT use a flash !
8. Practice your solar photography days, weeks, months before the actual eclipse. Practice, practice, practice.
9. Scout your location a day or two in advance to see the path the sun will take across the flip on the day of the overshadow .
10. Make a checklist of the gear you need. Check it twice .
11. Pray to anyone ( or anything ) you think can help for clear skies during the eclipse .
12. See #1 on this list .
13. See #2 on this list. Read it doubly. ENJOY THE SHOW! seriously, put the camera aside and look at the eclipse with your own eyes—or better yet, through binoculars. You ’ ll thank me late. I promise .
What are your tips and techniques for capturing a solar overshadow ? Share them with us and our readers in the Comments part, below !
“Last contact” Todd Vorenkamp Here is my $0.02 on sharpness of solar, astronomical, and lunar images:
The sun is a mean distance of approximately 93 million miles aside and the lunar month is a mean distance of 238,855 miles away. Neither the moon ’ second cratered come on nor the sun ’ s explosive open make them perfectly placid spheres .
When I pixel-split my solar images, be it the ones captured with a sharp Nikon 300mm f/4, a sharp Leica APO-Televid 77 spotting setting, or any other eye, careless of whether I am using a methamphetamine or metal-type solar filter, the sun is only, at its best, “ kind of ” sharp .
The like applies to images of the moon. I get crisp images, but never ampere sharp as I in truth, truly want to get .
This got me thinking.
When you photograph something outside of our atmosphere, there is a fairly sum of breeze between you and the subjugate. The thickness of Earth ’ s air is approximately 300 miles, with most of the dense publicize in the lower altitudes ( obviously ). Light is transmitted from the sun ( or stars ) or reflected from the moonlight ( and planets ) and it travels through the vacuum of space until it reaches ground. Once it arrives in the air, all your asperity bets are off .
If you took a photograph of a build, mountain, or person miles and miles aside, specially on a bleary day, you credibly would n’t very expect a super-sharp effigy, right ? now, think about an double of something captured on the far side of dozens of miles of vent. Sharp ? credibly not .
thus, if you are wondering what lens or filter is the sharpest to photograph distant things, or if you are wondering why your lunar craters or sunspots are not tack-sharp, even though you spent a short ton of money on a super-sharp lens, merely be grateful that earth has a protective shield around it that gives us air to hint and protects us from the severity of extinct outer space. And, besides remember that there is a cause they try to put telescopes in dry places at high altitudes—or in orb above the atmosphere !