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Thread: Total Solar Eclipse on August 21 in the USA - Plans, strategies, tips!

  1. #11
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    From what I have read so far a solar filter is 100x greater than the 10 stop. Which means an additional 6 to 7 stops.

    So a solar filter is 16 to 17 stops.

    Jonathans comments about full total, what will be required when it happens? Will a filter be required?

  2. #12
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    That is what I recall as well, solar filters, baader film, etc, are in the 16 stop filter range for visible light. These specialized filters do two things: 1) stops enough light to allow photographing details such as sun spots, etc. 2) they specifically block non-visible light as well. I forget if it is UV or IR, but stacking say a 10 stop and a 6 stop filters would get you too 16 stops allow photographing details such as sun spots, but may not block non-visible light that may harm your eyes if you look through an OVF.

    So, again, I would only look through an OVF if using something specialized.

    As for totality, that will be very brief, and I'd keep a filter in and simply adjust shutter speeds.

    Btw, some of my favorite pics (from others) from the last eclipse weren't directly of the sun itself, but rather reflections or shadow areas. The one that stands out to me was one taken of the ground beneath a tree. You could see the eclipse in 100 bright spots on the ground. Unfortunately it was an iPhone shot, so I can't link to it. But as is often the case, the best shots are not what you would expect.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
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    You don't need a filter during totality, in fact you probably won't get a decent picture with a filter on because of the greatly reduced light. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the dynamic range during totality is extreme, so you won't be able to capture the 'true' view with a single exposure. However you can target certain aspects of the event with different exposure settings. For example in order to capture the Bailey's Beads you will need a faster exposure, since those are the brightest parts. For details in the corona you will need a longer exposure. However you don't want to go with too long a shutter speed, because the corona is moving rather rapidly. There are very intricate details within the corona that are quite difficult to capture. I discovered this on my first eclipse, in India in 1995. I had seen many pictures of eclipses, so I thought I knew exactly what to expect. But the real-life view completely surprised me --- I was utterly blown away and simply could not believe my eyes. It was so ridiculously beautiful that it completely eclipsed (pun intended) any photo that I had ever seen before or since.

    If you are determined to get a shot, then I would suggest setting your camera on exposure bracketing, with maybe +/- 2 stops, and using a remote trigger while you observe the real thing with binoculars. Photos of the partial phases will be rather dull by comparison to totality, but you still need a filter in order to aim the camera. The main problem of course is that the sun is moving, and the longer the focal length you use the faster the sun will move out of your field of view. You can pre-aim the camera by observing the shadow it makes behind you. When the shadow is smallest, you are probably pointed pretty close to the sun. Then you can look through the viewfinder and fine tune the aiming. Practice this in advance --- it's trickier than you might think. You don't need a terribly huge focal length to get the full corona, because the diameter can easily be double to triple that of the sun itself. I'm going to guess that 400 mm should be ample, but I could be off on that (like I said earlier, I've never tried to take a photo myself).

  4. #14
    Senior Member Photog82's Avatar
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    I don't plan on traveling; in Bangor Maine, we will be getting a partial eclipse that I plan to shoot with my Lee Big Stopper.

  5. #15
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    I'll try to find some of the other references I used before 2012, but this covers a lot of ground.

    http://www.mreclipse.com/SEphoto/SEphoto.html

    Btw, I am planning on being in Idaho. Haven't pin point where just yet.

  6. #16
    Senior Member alex's Avatar
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    These are all great replies, thanks for all the information guys.

    I guess my overwhelming feeling right now is being torn about the idea of trying to shoot the eclipse. I don't for a second doubt what Jonathan is saying: first, that seeing a total eclipse will be unlike anything I've ever seen before and something I would really just want to take in, and second, that getting a shot that comes anywhere close to the actual experience is difficult at the least and impossible at the most.

    But the challenge!

    I think that's what is driving me to get a shot of it. I feel like a lot of my drive for my photography is kind of like trophy hunting. I got that shot that I really like, and I get to keep it, take it with me. I'm not a hunter, but that analogy might be close.

    Maybe I'll just rent a 100-400mm lens and just shoot totality without a filter. Take 10-20 shots. Be a spectator the rest of the time.
    70D --- 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 --- 17-55mm f/2.8 IS --- 70-200mm f/4.0L IS --- 85mm f/1.8 --- 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro --- B&W Filters --- Manfrotto Tripod & Ballhead

    www.vonkphoto.smugmug.com

  7. #17
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    Could you not "right size" the composition w/ the full moon (say tonight or in July)? It is the moon that is in the way .

    For aiming the camera before totality, it would be gross, some sort of simple tube - like a paper towel tube. Config it with some sort of gaffers tape, etc (aiming at a basketball on the ground vs. the sun ). Keep the lens cap on, set it up and get a feeling for how much and where the sun is moving at your lat/lon a day or two before. If you where really bored, day before, line it up at the same time of day, take a time lapse of the shadow profile of the tube and calculate the reverse so that the next day you set the rig up w/ the tube and the reverse of the ending shadow profile from the day before and time it out for totality, etc. and i would think you could get set up well before the eclipse starts, enjoy the show, fine tune at the moment of totality and let'er fly with either a built in intervalometer, remote, or magic lantern..... just remember to put the lens caps back on (I have three bodies and could theoretically be shooting different parts).

    Of course I suspect some more scientific folks could find/calculate the movements and angles - I am not that good with numbers. (actually I am just lazy).

    Just brain storming..... well passing shower anyway.

    Mike
    If you see me with a wrench, call 911

  8. #18
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    I have enough frequent flier miles to burn - if there is going to be a small gathering in Idaho...... that could be a ton of fun.
    If you see me with a wrench, call 911

  9. #19
    Senior Member alex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Busted Knuckles View Post
    I have enough frequent flier miles to burn - if there is going to be a small gathering in Idaho...... that could be a ton of fun.
    That's a good thought!
    70D --- 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 --- 17-55mm f/2.8 IS --- 70-200mm f/4.0L IS --- 85mm f/1.8 --- 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro --- B&W Filters --- Manfrotto Tripod & Ballhead

    www.vonkphoto.smugmug.com

  10. #20
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    For aiming I know how hard it is to locate the moon with the 500mm on a tripod. My thought was to have a filter in place and be tracking it just before total. And pull the filter. You can keep it just at the edge where the sun tracks accross. Then during totality have a release and fire away.

    I like Johnathans idea about bracketing. The shift in dynamic range he mentions I new would be happening. Over the years I have shot several things where you only have a few seconds during the action. Manual mode is probably a definite no go on this one. I am think AV with Auto ISO might be the way to go. Any one have thoughts on this?

    I also think I should use the 1D IV or the 7D II. For two reason, one if I burn up the camera both have less value than the 5ds R. Second both would respond quicker and higher shutter speed. I have never tried, I will need to see if bracketing works with continuous shooting. Also would there really even be an advantage using the 5Ds R 50mp sensor?

    I would also would like to have a subject picked out for landscape to catch the shadows. Have the 5Ds R set up on a tripod ready to go. Like perviously mentioned a great capture of the whole scene might be better than what you can capture shooting the sun. Any picture I take with my camera gear of the sun will never close to the shots you see from the experts with the dedicated solar gear.

    On a landscape shot would a CP add to or detract from the scene at total?

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