How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse

Posted by: on Aug 7, 2017

A total eclipse is an incredibly rare feat, and according to NASA, on Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights – a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere – the corona – can be seen, will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk.

Due to how rare and short the event is, it’s important to have the proper gear, planning, and lots of practice on the non-eclipsed sun before the big event.

While a lunar eclipse is safe to view with the naked eye, a solar eclipse is not. You’ll need proper eye protection, and you also need to use a solar filter on your camera to protect your camera’s imaging sensor as well as for correct exposure.

Gear Needed for Shooting a Solar Eclipse

Eclipse glasses, solar filters, a tripod, shutter release are the very basics and B&H Explora has a great write-up on the gear you’ll need to shoot the solar eclipse.

With the amount of frames you’ll want to capture and immediately view, we also recommend that you shoot tethered to a nearby laptop. A solid setup would be to have your tethered workstation on a Tether Table Aero mounted on top of a tripod, and screen protected from glare using the ThinkTank Photo Pixel SunScreen. This isn’t a shot you’ll want to miss, shooting tethered ensures you’ll be able to see the image in greater detail, ensuring you got the shot.

 

Shooting the Solar Eclipse

During the progression from full sun to totality of the solar eclipse, the light will change from bright to darkness. It won’t be sudden and drastic until the eclipse approaches totality, so your camera settings can remain somewhat static for the majority of the event. That being said, at the pinnacle of the event the light will be changing quickly and you must be ready to adapt.

As the sun becomes fully eclipse, reaching totality it’s time to remove your solar filter and bracket your shots. Use this Total Solar Eclipse Exposure Setting Guidelines as your roadmap and shoot a ton of shots at different exposures. If you’re shooting tethered you can even setup an external hard drive to back up your images so that you can shoot as many shots as you need to guarantee you capture the perfect solar eclipse moment.

 

Using the Bracketing Feature with the Case Air

If you’re hiking up to a vantage point and don’t want to bring out a tethered setup, there’s another way! The Case Air Wireless Tethering System comes packed full of advanced features, including bracketing which takes three photos; one using the camera’s settings, one intentionally underexposed, and one intentionally overexposed. The images are then combined in post processing into an image with preferred exposure.

How to Use Bracketing in the App

  • Choose the desired method to change exposure
  • Choose the starting exposure compensation
  • Choose the exposure compensation stepping
  • Select the shutter button to begin taking shots
  • Shots taken and current exposure setting will display at top
  • Once completed, select Quick View to review
  • To clear the Bracketing options, select the Bracketing icon then the Default button

 

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