Solar eclipse photography - any tips?


27 Feb 2015 10:01AM
Hello folks,

On 20 March, Britain will be able to witness a solar eclipse and I was wondering if anyone had any tips on photographing this type of astronomical event?

Apparently, northern Scotland will have the best view but even further south we should be able to see 85 per cent of the solar eclipse.

Cheers,

Nikita.

oldblokeh 9 1.2k United Kingdom
27 Feb 2015 11:46AM
Do not try to photograph it directly under any circumstances,

You can try capturing a pinhole projected image:

http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/make-pinhole-projector.html

And you can use the natural 'pinholes' made by leaves on trees for a great effect:

http://petapixel.com/2012/05/21/crescent-shaped-projections-through-tree-leaves-during-the-solar-eclipse/
oldblokeh 9 1.2k United Kingdom
27 Feb 2015 12:45PM
Sorry, I missed out the most important tip of all:

Go somewhere with clear skies. It's bound to be cloudy here Sad
davereet 16 443 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2015 1:22PM
We were in Cornwall for the last one and it clouded over at the last minute :-((
Missed it, but it was very eery it going dark in the middle of the day.
polty32 6 6 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2015 4:05PM
The last solar eclipse I shot from the hip with a film camera. I had everything sat on max f22 300mm set at infinity and got a reasonable shot. I am considering using a welders mask lens and also thinking about using an IR red filter this time round, with my 18-300mm 3.5 5.6 nikkor lens on my D300s. Hope this helps and works. Smile
Jestertheclown 11 8.3k 253 England
27 Feb 2015 4:41PM
I shot the last one using an Olypus OM40, from above a shop front in North London without any protection at all and I can still see as well as I ever could.
oldblokeh 9 1.2k United Kingdom
27 Feb 2015 4:49PM

Quote:I shot the last one using an Olypus OM40, from above a shop front in North London without any protection at all and I can still see as well as I ever could.


Well lucky you. Drunk drivers get away with it most of the time. That doesn;t make it a sensible thing to do.
Sooty_1 10 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2015 9:03PM
Seconded. Ever tried to focus a simple lens on a piece of paper in sunlight? When it works, just think that could be your retina.

It's easy enough to photograph indirectly, but if you must photograph it directly, the best way is to get a purpose made filter. Get one soon before the price goes up in the few days preceding the eclipse.
Failing that, ensure you have enough filtration to protect your eyes. A big stopper is a reasonable place to start. The Partial eclipse won't be very dark over most of Britain, some may not even notice it.

Nick
polty32 6 6 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2015 11:38PM

Quote:The last solar eclipse I shot from the hip with a film camera. I had everything sat on max f22 300mm set at infinity and got a reasonable shot. I am considering using a welders mask lens and also thinking about using an IR red filter this time round, with my 18-300mm 3.5 5.6 nikkor lens on my D300s. Hope this helps and works. Smile
258932_1425080301.jpg
JackAllTog Plus
11 6.1k 58 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2015 11:56PM
I was thinking of my bigish stopper and using live view so the image is displayed on the LCD screen for final positioning - i don't think I'd ever want to focus light into my own eye Sad

This site may give some indication of what you will see where - http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/uk/london
oldblokeh 9 1.2k United Kingdom
28 Feb 2015 8:00AM
Live view would be the way to go, but even then make sure that you understand fully the filter you are using. What does the damage when we focus the sun's rays is the infrared energy. Some filters are very dense in the visible spectrum, but transparent in the infrared. Many big stoppers and the like are, I believe, dyed resin based and may be highly suspect in this respect. Astronomers use metal film filters which reduce everything. I believe that the Lee Proglass ND is a metal film filter while, for example, the Hitech ones are not.
1 Mar 2015 8:57AM
First of all - safety. Looking at Sun directly or, even worse, through an optical viewfinder is guaranteed to give you irreparable eye damage. Even worse - you won't feel a thing before too late. So - CAMERA DISPLAY in live view ONLY.

Now, to technical side of it. What you can use to shoot the eclipse?
In it's early and final stage no straight optics will help you - flares will kill the image. At that time you need a special solar filter ( 100 pounds or so in astronomy shop). Lens - the longer focal distance the best, but do not overdo the aperture. F8-F11 will give you the best shot. Sure, you will need a good sturdy tripod and remote control ( better a tethered tablet or laptop). Remember - LIVE VIEW ONLY!

At the top phase you may bite the bullet and try a shot with the lens equipped with IR cut filter. However, do it at your own risk. A moment more - and the Sun appearing from the Moon shadow may make you desire to upgrade your camera due to sensor damage.
All in all - this is specialized sort of photography of a rare event that makes the business of photographing it probably not worth the result. Really, you better have great vivid memories than very average images.

Cheers!
Geoffphoto 14 13.5k United Kingdom
1 Mar 2015 10:01PM
If it's anything like last time here in Cornwall, It'll pee with rain !!!!! !Grin

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