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09-23-2016, 05:32 AM   #1
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req info on equipment and technique for upcoming solar eclipse

There will be a total solar eclipse upcoming next August. Since I'll be retired by then, I want to make the trip to view and photograph it. Never seen one before and other than knowing that I'm not supposed to look directly at the sun, I'm clueless about what equipment and technique I should use.

I'll be using a K-1 and can select between any of the D-FA zooms, (except for the longest one), FA Limiteds, Sigma 100-300/4 with associated EX 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters, and a bunch of older A, M, and K glass of various focal lengths between 28mm and 400mm. Also a mid-range Manfrotto tripod and a low-end Velbon tripod.

What focal length is "best" to use when photographing a total solar eclipse? What exposure mode? Metering mode?

I guess I could video record the event also. I still have my K-3, so that is available too.

NASA - Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 Aug 21

Solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Track map:
Solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

09-23-2016, 06:22 AM   #2
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What kind of picture do you want - sun/moon in abstraction, or eclipse against a landscape?

There are solar telescopes that you can fit the camera to as well as projection rigs that cast an image onto a flat surface for observation.

I would find a local astronomy club and pick their brains too.
09-23-2016, 07:27 AM   #3
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Here's some good information:

How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse

Do not forget to use a solar filter!!!

Solar Filters

I have a solar filter for using with my 80mm telescope. It works nicely.
09-23-2016, 07:49 AM   #4
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I may try to catch it too! Following.

09-23-2016, 09:51 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by volosong Quote
What focal length is "best" to use when photographing a total solar eclipse? What exposure mode? Metering mode?
"It depends".

For a closeup of the sun, you want 300mm or longer. A solar filter is required; the sun's heat plus telephoto magnification can fry your camera. At totality, that ~2 minute period when the moon will fully block the sun's disk, remove the solar filter and reset exposure. Be careful here; when totality ends even a small amount of direct sun can harm your eye and camera. If you aren't near the eclipse centerline you'll never be in totality.

For wide landscape images you can't use a solar filter at all because it makes the foreground black. Don't look through the optical finder to protect your eye, and only use liveview briefly to frame the shot.

Baader solar film is any easy way to make a custom filter that fits your lens. Making solar filters for total solar eclipses shows one way to build the lens cell from foam board. Note that the article is a bit old and mentions solar film products that might not be available any more. Telescope dealers also have pre-built filters that might fit your camera lens.

Given that you have a K-1 and K-3, I would use the K-3 with your 100-300 or older 400 lens. Get a solar filter for one of those lenses. Put the K-1 on a tripod, wide angle lens, set the intervalometer to take a set of landscapes as the eclipse progresses.

Or, for the contrarian approach, experience the eclipse and forget about photographing it. Your first eclipse might not be the best time to practice astrophotography.

Here's a great set of eclipse photos combining telephoto and wide angle. Not my photos. IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON | Stan Honda
09-23-2016, 11:03 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
Or, for the contrarian approach, experience the eclipse and forget about photographing it. Your first eclipse might not be the best time to practice astrophotography.
That's probably the best advice. Reading the few replies, I'd disinclined to photograph the event and just experience it instead.

Heck, my fancy, new camera has an astrotracker and I haven't the slightest clue about how to use it. I'm mighty jealous about all these cool milky way photographs lately. I don't honestly think I've even seen the milky way and wouldn't be able to recognize it if you pointed it out to me. So much to learn . . . and so little time.

Thanks for the help, guys. For now, I'll stick to what I know best.
09-23-2016, 07:06 PM   #7
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Here's another map highlighting some potential watch spots:

Best places to view ? Total solar eclipse of Aug 21, 2017, the Great American Eclipse
09-23-2016, 08:26 PM   #8
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FYI, plan way ahead. Hotels along the path are already filling up. I'm planning a 3 week tour of the midwest in a camper van so I can relocate based on cloud forecasts.

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