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

  1. #71
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Savannah, GA
    I just created a post in the News section with a brief account of my experiences from the event. If you want, share your own stories and your favorite image in the comment section there (hoping to get the ball rolling).

  2. #72
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    New Hampshire, USA
    So, I figure I will consult this thread before the next eclipse. So I thought I'd write down a few things that I will want to remember:

    What I liked:

    • Have a plan for partial eclipse, the transition, and totality. Make sure some of the plan for totality includes just watching it and enjoying.
    • Set alarm for 1 min before totality and before 3rd contact.
    • Have multiple cameras going: close ups with telephoto lens, wide angle lens, and video (on gorillapod).
    • 840 mm was great. Wider would have worked well too. I wouldn't do more focal length unless I had a rock solid equatorial mount.
    • Remote trigger.
    • Have back up lenses and filters. Binoculars with solar filters for partial eclipse.
    • Pick spot where you can see totality that has a crowd (cheering was a nice benefit) but not a mob scene.
    • Go for variety of shots to capture flares (1/100 to 1/1,000 at f/9, ISO 100) and corona (0.4-1/20, f/9, ISO 100).

    How I would improve:
    • Improve mount: Travel ballhead and support had vibration.
    • 150-600S focus ring is too sensitive.
    • Hold down trigger for rapid fire shots during 2nd and 3rd contact (diamond ring/bailey's beads).
    • Wide angle camera needs better low EV AF or go with preset MF: M3 had problems focusing during totality.
    • It would be excellent if location could have eclipse at lower angle so landscape can more easily be pulled into image.
    • If using 150-600S + 1.4TC...try dropping to f/10 or f/11 to see if sharpness can be increased.

    Anyone else had tips that we should remember?

  3. #73
    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Canmore, Alberta
    That definitely nails it!

    - I like the idea of an alarm, at least before 3rd contact.
    - I got my variety of shots by setting up 7-exposure bracketing in manual mode, and firing bursts in high-speed mode. Then I would ramp the shutter speed up and down in addition to that, to expand the range even more.
    - Taking time to watch and enjoy is crucial. I missed photographing the diamond rings completely, but I don't regret that because I got to watch them live, rather than through a lens.
    - For my wide-angle camera, I just had it set on manual focus close to the hyperfocal point at f/5.0 and it did fine.
    - For the telephoto camera, I used my 100-400 lens on a full-frame body, and cropped the result. I didn't lose much in terms of detail, and it gave me some latitude for movement of the sun (not having to continually adjust position as it drifted through the viewfinder). I was also able to get shots wide enough to include the bright star Regulus near the sun.
    -Yes a lower-angle eclipse has some advantages, but you increase the risk of interference from haze and clouds when the sun is lower. When it does work out, it can be fantastic. I saw an annular eclipse at sunset from San Diego (in 1993, I think) and it was brilliant.
    - One thing I forgot was to bring a bottle of champagne, so we could pop the cork and celebrate afterwards! Gotta put that on the list for next time

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