Which is the best way to catch solar eclipse in Lens

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by printyo, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. Hi Some time back I was trying to catch solar eclipse using my Canon DSLR but the images were not clear. Is there any addon i can use with the DSLR to get the perfect image of Solar Eclipse
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  2. There will be another solar eclipse in the US in 2024. If you have a travel bug, there are about two solar eclipses a year somewhere in the world.

    I determined the azimuth and elevation of the sun for the duration of the partial eclipse. I used the span to determine the right focal length (24 mm) to capture the entire sequence with a stationary camera. I then set the azimuth for the maximum occultation (90% in Chicago) and the elevation to place the sun about 1/3rd from the top of the frame.

    I attached an 18-stop "eclipse" filter to the lens, and set an intervalometer to 60 seconds (the maximum). The eclipse in Chicago started at 11:54 am (DST) and ended at 2:41 pm.

    The solar disk is very small with a 24 mm lens. Next time I will use a telescope or long telephoto (600 mm) on a motorized equatorial mount in addition to a sequence shot.

    The downside is, Chicago had a heavy overcast. The sun only peeped between the clouds a few times.
  3. We had nice clear weather for a 96% here in Louisville, KY.

    I used a 200mm lens(crop sensor) and just held my solar glasses over the lens. That's probably not the recipe for the BEST photos, but I feel like I got some decent ones. I have a few folks around me fail to get a good photo with their phone cameras, so they took a photo of the LCD on my camera :)

    A partial eclipse will throw the meter out of whack, so I played until I had a satisfactory photo of the uneclipsed sun and then use manual mode to keep it there for the duration. I ended up cranking up to ISO 800 and I think I was doing about 1/400 at 5.6. Since I was hand-holding, I wanted the fastest realistic shutter speeds.

    Had I not drug my feet on getting supplies and been able to get my filter material in time, I had planned on using a 500mm mirror lens parked on a tripod. I'll be better prepared in 2024 :)
  4. _DSC6711.jpg _DSC6715.jpg

    The best filters are metallized mylar, used for telescopic observation. They look crinkly, but they are so thin this has no effect on sharpness. They are fragile, however, and you would need some sort of frame or holder.

    I bought a solid, dark 18-stop glass filter in 82 mm size (my largest lens). I plan to buy some reducing adapters so I can use it with other lenses. Today it was all for naught. The heavy overcast obscured the sun in all but a handful of images. I did have fun with it in other respects. In a crowded situation, it served as an effective "people filter."

    This photo was taken of the famous "Bean" (more correctly, "Cloud Gate" sculpture) in Millennium Park, Chicago. I used an 8:44 minute exposure at f/8 and ISO 100. A normal exposure is included as a reference.
  5. Well, you can probably get some good solar filters cheap now. :)

    B&H photo was selling some inexpensive cardboard/mylar type filters that Ed mentioned. They fit over a variety of lens sizes. I taped mine on because I had this fear of it getting knocked off and some neighborhood kid going blind because they looked through the camera without a filter.

    A good tip that's already been mentioned is to practice taking pictures of the sun while there's not an eclipse.

    I used a tripod and a remote. I got a few decent pictures and then it got cloudy. My daughter and I hopped in the car with the cameras trying to chase down the clear sky and finally stopped where the clouds were thin enough to get an OK, if not perfect view. I only got one picture there's and it's not that great.




    Since I was late ordering the filters, they only had two packs, so I put one on a film camera (which had a better lens anyway). We'll see how those turned out.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
  6. Note: The camera will probably not be able to work out decent exposure settings on it's own so you'll have to set those manually and experiment. The picture I took above was on a crop frame camera with a 250mm zoom lens. ISO was 100, aperture f/16, and shutter speed ~2 seconds. I found at larger apertures the image was not very sharp at all. To say that the filter was not a precision optical instrument is an understatement and that might have had something to do with it.
  7. My eclipse day was nearly a total disappointment. Heavy cloud cover shrouded the event, except for a few brief moments. I used an intervalometer application to shoot at 60 second intervals, which I hoped to overlay with a foreground shot taken with the same setup. Out of 199 images, I found only three which I could use. Near the climax, I was able to shoot a few good photos by hand, without a filter.

    I took a lot of test shots, and checked the azimuth and elevation and focal length for coverage of the entire event from start to finish. I determined the best exposure (f/5.6 at 1/250, ISO 100). All this went out the window, so to speak. Still it was a good exercise, which should prove useful in astrophotography. If I'm still around in 2024, I'll have a second chance at an eclipse.

    Sony A7ii + 70-200/4, taken at 1:27 pm CDT, 8 minutes past maximum occultation, Chicago
  8. I managed to track it through most of the duration.


    BTW, I guess it's simultaneously impressive how bright the sun is and also a bit disappointing.

    With 96% here, it got about as dark as early dusk, or maybe an overcast day.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
  9. I was lucky to be in great location, Victor, Idaho, to view and photograph totality. I had my DSLR mounted piggy-back on my telescope, which was aligned to tracked the sun. I could then take photos without having to aim each individual shot. I used a wide range of exposures during totality in hopes of capturing the extreme range of luminosities of the corona (twenty-something stops). I hope to blend individual images to show the mostly complete corona. This will be quite a test of my OK but not great Photoshop skills. Here is my telescope and camera set-up.

    I did miss quite a bit by concentrating on photography rather than just watching. My friends were oohing and awing and cheering as the shadow approached across the Big Hole valley while I was madly adjusting exposures, removing the solar filter from the camera, etc. I did get a chance to look at the corona, and all I can say is wow! We all gave a round of applause at the end for a great show. telescope and camera set up.jpg
  10. outer corona s.jpg Here is a longer exposure shot that shows the outer region of the corona. (1s, ISO 200, f:8.0. 300mm lens, cropped image). The inner region is washed out.
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  11. That's something I remembered from reading the tips on eclipse photography, don't get so caught up in photographing it that you miss the show. ;)

    I like your set up and it appears you got some great shots! I've already decided that I need to travel to a spot where there's totality in 2024. I'm thinking Mazatlan. :)

    I've photographed the moon and Saturn through a telescope before and it's a fair amount of monkeying around. Your approach seems to make more sense. Just piggy back on the telescope so it'll track. Anyway, if I do go to Mazatlan maybe I'll leave the camera at home, but it's such a rare opportunity...
  12. Tom - I think that the best approach to photographing a total eclipse would be to automate the process, have the camera track the sun, and have a computer or intervalometer programmed to take photos. Then you could just start the program and watch the show. Roger Clark at How to Photograph the Sun, Clarkvision.com writes about this, but has not found the complete solution yet.

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