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

  1. #1
    Senior Member alex's Avatar
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    Total Solar Eclipse on August 21 in the USA - Plans, strategies, tips!

    Hi everyone,

    I'm really excited about the opportunity to see a total solar eclipse this August, the first closely accessible solar eclipse of my life thus far.

    I thought I would start a thread about the eclipse, just to see what any of you are planning (if you are planning on traveling short or long distances to see it) and how you're gonna go about capturing the event.

    1. Where are you planning on seeing the eclipse?

    2. What lens(es) do you think you'll be shooting with?

    3. What tools will you use to aid in capture? (Filters, tripods or rigs, automated anything, remote release, sunglasses, pinholes)

    4. Who will you be watching the eclipse with?

    5. Have you ever seen a total before?

    Thanks for participating!!!

    Alex

    My answers:

    1. I'm in Portland, OR. I could travel south on I-5 with 20,000 other people and try to find a place to see it around the Corvallis/Eugene area (and hope it's not cloudy that day), but instead, I think I'm gonna be in Idaho along Hwy 95 somewhere between Weiser and Cambridge. My parents have a place about 100 miles north of there, and I think I'll take my three boys there for the week.

    2. I have a 70-200mm f4L IS that I own, on my 70D. But I'm not sure this will be long enough? I may rent a 100-400 for the week? Not really sure.

    3. I'll be using my tripod of course, and I have my B&W 10-stop ND filter. However, I don't love using that filter as it has to be removed to compose a shot in focus, then placed back on, etc. Maybe I will purchase a variable ND filter?

    4. Hopefully I will be watching it with my wife, three boys and my parents.

    5. I've never seen a total, but I do remember seeing a partial eclipse in Boise, ID when I was 14 or 15.
    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

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    Std warmings on looking, photo'ing the sun....

    I am trying to figure out what I want to photo that is earthbound. Thinking of the eclipse as a giant nd filter
    If you see me with a wrench, call 911

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    I have occasionally been reading and researching this for a few years. I am glad you mentioned this because I haven't thought about it in some time and now is the time to be making plans.

    The longest duration will be in Tennessee and at first I thought it might be best to go there. I have a friend with a Cabin in West Yellowstone, he has let us vacation there many times. I might have to ask him about August of this year. I think the Tetons would be a great place to shoot. But it is probably best to pick a spot with the best atmospheric and weather conditions. It might be better to be some where in the high plains.

    From what I understand if you were in the Pacific you could see a total eclipse sunrise, which would be cool. Maybe someone knows a charter that is doing this?

    I do not think your 10 stops will be adequate. I do not understand your comment about composing in live view with the 10x. I could see that as a problem when you are composing for a long normal exposure but probably not if you are pointing at the sun. If it is like shooting the moon you wouldn't want a shutter speed longer than 1/2 second and I think you will have enough light passing the filter to compose.

    I think shooting tethered to a lap top would be good. Looking at the back of your camera will be difficult. If you are on a tripod with a long lens the sun will move out of your view rather quickly so you will continually be recomposing. With 2 minutes or less to achieve your goal you do not want to be recomposing.

    It might take a bit of research, and perhaps if you find anything new you can continue to post it here. But when doing a Lunar eclipse there is several stops difference from an almost complete to a complete. I would imagine the sun would even have a greater spread. Shuffling around to find the right filter combination during the total could be devastating to the whole adventure.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
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    I'm going to the eclipse, and viewing it from Idaho Falls. Another very good spot is Casper Wyoming. Other areas along the path of the eclipse don't have as favourable odds for clear skies. This site is a good resource: https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/

    I've seen two total eclipses already, and in neither case did I even attempt to take a photo. I really don't think it's worthwhile. The photo you get will look nothing at all like what you will see in person, due to the huge dynamic range of the event. Eclipses are very, very short lasting. If you even spend a few seconds fiddling with a camera, you're missing out on the most spectacular sight you will ever see with the naked eye (I kid you not).

    I bring binoculars and welding glass to an eclipse. During the partial phase, you need to have the welding glass in front of the binos of course. The welding glass you need is #10 (the darkest). When the eclipse is total, you don't need any protection at all. So you can look directly through the binoculars and enjoy the spectacle. Immediately before and after totality, you can witness the incredible sight of the shadow of the moon racing towards you along the horizon. There's much to see and experience. I wouldn't ruin it by trying to grab a shot. I know that this is tantamount to heresy on a photo forum, but it's my strong view. Some things in life you just have to be there for, and a photo will never do it justice. The real-life view is much, much better --- trust me on that.

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    Jonathan that is sage advice. Your comments line up w/ my thoughts of something earth bound - like a video of the whole shadow racing along a valley - Signal Mountain Grand Tetons looking south could be really cool. Just turn on the video and let it run. Need a wider angle than below.

    Tetons003 by mbarrett5076, on Flickr

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Huyer View Post
    I'm going to the eclipse, and viewing it from Idaho Falls. Another very good spot is Casper Wyoming. Other areas along the path of the eclipse don't have as favourable odds for clear skies. This site is a good resource: https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/

    I've seen two total eclipses already, and in neither case did I even attempt to take a photo. I really don't think it's worthwhile. The photo you get will look nothing at all like what you will see in person, due to the huge dynamic range of the event. Eclipses are very, very short lasting. If you even spend a few seconds fiddling with a camera, you're missing out on the most spectacular sight you will ever see with the naked eye (I kid you not).

    I bring binoculars and welding glass to an eclipse. During the partial phase, you need to have the welding glass in front of the binos of course. The welding glass you need is #10 (the darkest). When the eclipse is total, you don't need any protection at all. So you can look directly through the binoculars and enjoy the spectacle. Immediately before and after totality, you can witness the incredible sight of the shadow of the moon racing towards you along the horizon. There's much to see and experience. I wouldn't ruin it by trying to grab a shot. I know that this is tantamount to heresy on a photo forum, but it's my strong view. Some things in life you just have to be there for, and a photo will never do it justice. The real-life view is much, much better --- trust me on that.
    Last edited by Busted Knuckles; 02-09-2017 at 11:35 PM.
    If you see me with a wrench, call 911

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    Jonathan,

    It looks like the center passes between Driggs and Victor with Moose on the opposite side of the Tetons. The only reservation I have about the area is detailed in Busted's picture. I have been in the area several times in the last few years in August, Idaho and Park side, and every time it was mostly overcast, cloudy or raining. When it does clear the sky is beautiful and clear and I couldn't think of many better places to be. Casper might be a better choice for a higher percentage chance to see it. I would prefer the view in Idaho and the Tetons if it is clear.

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    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
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    Yes being close to the Tetons may not be the best strategy. I'm going to be in the Snake River Valley, which has excellent prospects and also has enough options for roads to move around if necessary to avoid clouds.
    https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com...laces-to-view/
    Although less scenic, it is helpful to be in a wide flat plain with long views in each direction. You really don't want to miss the sight of the moon's shadow racing towards you at 1000 mph.
    Last edited by Jonathan Huyer; 02-10-2017 at 02:50 PM.

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    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    My plan is to head to Charleston, SC (about a 2-hour drive from my home in Savannah, GA).

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    FYI B&H has a quit a bit of solar viewing gear available now. I think they added quit a bit of gear in advance of the eclipse.

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    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Total Solar Eclipse on August 21 in the USA - Plans, strategies, tips!

    You can also buy baader film and make your own filter for your camera and shield for yourself. This is what I did before the last eclipse.

    As for 10 stop filters, I would NOT look at the sun through the OVF with a 10 stop filter on, but several people I know did use a 10 stop filter and the LCD to capture some images.

    With a DYI baader film filter:
    https://flic.kr/p/c8bke9
    https://flic.kr/p/c8bkdu
    https://flic.kr/p/c8bkaC

    Here's a shot Erno took with a 10 stop filter. He describes his setup on Flickr.
    https://flic.kr/p/c2J4UL
    Last edited by Kayaker72; 02-11-2017 at 01:21 PM.

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