Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Eclipse 2017 - To Photograph or Not (part 3)

TSE 2016 - Bill Kramer - Handheld, Canon Powershot wide angle 
Let us suppose you have decided you want to do BOTH. You want to observe the eclipse and you want to take some pictures. You have a couple choices.

Simple approach: Watch the eclipse but have the camera at the ready. Set it up just before totality for NO FLASH, manual infinite focus, vibration suppression on, exposure set in manual at 1/125, ISO/ASA preset to 400. Take a picture if you remember. I have used a Canon Powershot SX60HS for an eclipse without a tripod. Not all of the pictures came out nice, but some did. And I could adjust the focal length with the camera, no lens change required.

TSE 2016 - Bill Kramer - Canon Powershot handheld, maximum optical zoom

TSE 2016 - Bill Kramer - Canon Powershot handheld

No selfies: Do not waste your time taking a selfie during totality. It will look bad and the flash might go off in your face. If you really want a selfie type image, set up a wide angle shot with you between the camera and the eclipse. Don't block out the eclipse in the view. Let the camera run in video mode (make sure your memory and battery are up to the task).

Exception to selfie comment maybe?
More stuff: Bring a tripod and a camera that can be preprogrammed. Set up the camera on the tripod shielding the display so as not to shine in your face (and your neighbors). Use the multiple exposure setting if available. Using the timer can be a bother if there is a light on the front of the camera counting it down. That can be "fixed" using some electrical tape. Otherwise a cable release or remote control is the ideal solution.
TSE 2006 - Melissa Kramer - Questar prime focus

The best way, total automation: Bring along multiple cameras and maybe even a telescope that can all be controlled by a computer. The number of I/O ports may limit how many of these things you can connect. The cameras should be connected first. The telescope only needs to track the Sun and that may be a simple setting on the mount. Once set up you can sit back and relax, watch totality, and hope the software you use works.

What software should you use? Take a look at my web pages about photographing solar eclipses for more information.

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