Tips for Better Solar Eclipse Photography
Published: July 12 2017
At 2:21 PM EDT on August 21, 2017, much of the United States will have the rare opportunity to view a total solar eclipse. While total eclipses occur every 18 months, most are only visible at sea, making land sightings extremely rare. Photographers are already gearing up for the event, which is already drawing widespread attention across the country.
Before you grab your SLR camera and head for the nearest viewing location, there are some things you need to know in order to safely capture the event on film. Total solar eclipses, while stunning to look at, are extremely dangerous for your eyes and even your equipment. Take a moment to review some precautions you should take in order to fully enjoy the experience.
Bring the Right Safety Gear
In eclipse photography, there are a few specialty items you’ll need to protect your eyes, as well as the light sensors in your camera. Here are the basics:
Remote shutter trigger
Solar lens filter
Never look directly into the sun, either through your naked eyes or your viewfinder. The intensity of the light is enough to damage your camera’s light sensors; the magnifying optics in an SLR increase this intensity. Instead, wear eclipse sunglasses and attach a special solar filter to your lens. We offer both eclipse glasses & lens filters which you can find at the bottom of this article or by visiting uniquephoto.com/eclipse.
With eclipses, you only get a narrow window to capture the event–you don’t want to be scrambling with your camera or rushing to find the best viewpoint. Be sure to plan ahead with your shoot: practice taking photos of the sun beforehand, find vantage points and assemble the necessary equipment.
Taking a Better Picture
After finding the perfect location and acquiring the right safety gear, you’re ready to take the perfect solar eclipse photo. However, there are some tricks you should know in order to make your pictures more impressive.
Choose the right sized lens – If you want the sun to fill the frame, choose a longer lens lens focal length, at least 300mm or greater.
Try digiscoping – Digiscoping allows you to use an optical telescope to magnify your subject matter without the need for a larger lens.
Always bracket – Many photographers don’t have experience shooting a total solar eclipse. Make sure to vary your shutter speed and aperture throughout the event to maximize your light reading.
Experiment with composition – Take photos with your subject in different locations in the frame for compositional variety.
Don’t miss out on this rare and exciting opportunity to capture a total solar eclipse first-hand. Plan ahead and make sure you have everything you need before August 21st.
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