Total Solar Eclipse 2017
For the first time since 1918, a total solar eclipse will traverse the U.S. on Monday, August 21st, 2017, Depending on where you’re located, the spectacle could range from an impressive penumbra, the shadow cast by the earth or moon over an area experiencing a partial eclipse, to a full-on, totally awesome blackout.
What is a solar eclipse?
Solar eclipses happen when the New Moon moves between the Sun and Earth, blocking out the Sun’s rays and casting a shadow on parts of Earth.
To view the total eclipse, you’ll need to be somewhere along this track::
For the longest viewing duration, you’ll need to be here:
How to watch and shoot a solar eclipse
CAUTION! Don’t watch it with the naked eye and even sunglasses offer insufficient protection. If you’re going to watch or photograph this event, you’ll need the special eyeglasses or camera lens filters available from a local camera store, like Houston Camera Exchange, or online resources like B&H Photo Video or even Amazon. Search Solar Eclipse Glasses, etc.The eyeglasses are inexpensive, the lens filters or solar event (telephoto) lenses are, well, pretty pricey. Don’t worry, you can make your own lens filters! Amazon and camera stores to the rescue! Just search 6″ x 6″ Solar Filter Sheet for Telescopes, Binoculars and Cameras (around 15 bucks) BUT you should also buy a pair of the Solar Viewing Glasses (five pairs for five bucks on Amazon) to help you focus on the sun before you put the filter over the camera lens’ front. Can you use your cell phone’s camera? Well, maybe…but you won’t get the results you’ll get by using a DSLR with a telephoto lens. But, there are solar viewing accessories for Android and iPhones. Just click around.
What about exposure settings?
With the filter over the lens, set your SLR’s Mode Dial to P (programmed automatic). ISO? Well, you’ll want to keep the shutter speed high – 1/250th sec. or faster. If you’re not getting that shutter speed with the filter in place in P Mode, switch to Tv (time value mode-Canon cameras, S Mode on Nikon) and manually set the shutter speed to 1/250 (or faster) and let the SLR set the aperture automatically. How can you be sure of your settings and results before the event? Practice shooting the sun before eclipse day with the filter and lens-of-choice. Your pre-eclipse goal is to capture a sharp, sun “disk”.
Jot-down the exposure settings you used for a clear “disk”…
Then hope for clear skies on August 21st!