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01-08-2017, 10:14 PM   #1
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American solar eclipse 2017

I'm starting to plan for the August solar eclipse that will occur over North America and have some questions I'm hoping will be met with the collective wisdom of this group.

I'm planning on using two bodies, one with a wide (Sigma 10-20) and one with a tele (either the DA 50-200 ED WR or the DA 55-300mm ED). Obviously amateur/enthusiast equipment. Better options? I've also have the faster and sharper 35mm F2.8 Limited and the 50 F1.8 at my disposal.

A couple of equipment questions:

First, about the bodies.

I'm a happy KS-2 user now and can't afford a K3 ii, but I'm thinking of selling it to subsidize a purchase of a new K-70 or used K-3; maybe a used K-50 or K-30 for a second body? Recommendations? I need wi-fi on at least one body for work, so that's a factor.

Second, will stacked ND filters work for this shoot? I've got an ND8. ND4 and ND2 that stacked will give me 14 stops, or should I get a unitasker filter for this eclipse, knowing I will likely never need such a piece of equipment again. But, it is a once-in-a-lifetime event ...

Thanks all.

01-09-2017, 02:59 AM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by NoCo Pentaxian Quote
I'm starting to plan for the August solar eclipse that will occur over North America and have some questions I'm hoping will be met with the collective wisdom of this group.

I'm planning on using two bodies, one with a wide (Sigma 10-20) and one with a tele (either the DA 50-200 ED WR or the DA 55-300mm ED). Obviously amateur/enthusiast equipment. Better options? I've also have the faster and sharper 35mm F2.8 Limited and the 50 F1.8 at my disposal.

A couple of equipment questions:

First, about the bodies.

I'm a happy KS-2 user now and can't afford a K3 ii, but I'm thinking of selling it to subsidize a purchase of a new K-70 or used K-3; maybe a used K-50 or K-30 for a second body? Recommendations? I need wi-fi on at least one body for work, so that's a factor.

Second, will stacked ND filters work for this shoot? I've got an ND8. ND4 and ND2 that stacked will give me 14 stops, or should I get a unitasker filter for this eclipse, knowing I will likely never need such a piece of equipment again. But, it is a once-in-a-lifetime event ...

Thanks all.
depending on your budget, consider renting equipment from a company like Lens rental from Tennessee both for trials and for the actual event.

Be advised that available places to stay in the path of the eclipse is going fast at least in Kansas and Missouri
01-09-2017, 04:57 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Forget the ND filters. You don't need them at all. At totality, you can look at the sun with the naked eye.

A long lens is essential; the 55-300 @ 300 isn't too bad. Longer would be better. Go out and shoot the full moon sometime to gauge your field of view. Bear in mind though that you want to go out to several solar radii to image the extended corona.

I strongly recommend bracketing RAW files and using HDR to get maximum dynamic range. Use a tripod. The idea is to bring out as much detail as possible in the coronal streamers. It is very easy to overexpose and lose the detail. Too short an exposure is better than too long.
01-09-2017, 05:44 AM - 2 Likes   #4
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Motels/hotels in the deserts of eastern Oregon, an area which probably has the highest probability for clear skies, have been totally sold out for many months. Remember that leading up to the moment of totality, the sun is incredibly bright and a camera lens, acting like a magnifying glass, concentrates that light into a spot that can melt plastic or the retina of your eye in a second, faster than you realize it's happening. If you plan to line up your shot before totality, DO NOT look through the viewfinder if you value your eyes. DO NOT use live view if you value the sensor of your camera. DO NOT trust your eyes or the sensor to photographic ND filters, they are inadequate. What I plan to do is get a solar filter of the kind used for viewing the sun through a telescope. There are both round filters in a mount, similar to regular photographic filters but generally larger, and sheets of mylar-like material that can be fitted over the end of a camera lens with gaffer tape or perhaps a rubber band. I intend to get the sheet material (it's cheaper) and tape it to a lens hood, align before totality and maybe take a few partial eclipse snaps, then at totality, simply remove the lens hood. GOOGLE "solar filter" or go to B&H or Adorama and search "solar filter."


Last edited by WPRESTO; 01-09-2017 at 05:23 PM.
01-09-2017, 06:02 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
Motels/hotels in the deserts of eastern Oregon, an area which probably has the highest probability for clear skies, have been totally sold out for many months. Remember that leading up to the moment of totality, the sun is incredibly bright and a camera lens, acting like a magnifying glass, concentrates that light into a spot that can melt plastic or the retina of your eye in a second, faster than you realize it's happening. If you plan to line up your shot before totality, DO NOT look through the viewfinder if you value your eyes. DO NOT use live view if you value the senor of your camera. DO NOT trust your eyes or the sensor to photographic ND filters, they are inadequate. What I plan to do is get a solar filter of the kind used for viewing the sun through a telescope. There are both round filters in a mount, similar to regular photographic filters but generally larger, and sheets of mylar-like material that can be fitted over the end of a camera lens with gaffer tape or perhaps a rubber band. I intend to get the sheet material (it's cheaper) and tape it to a lens hood, align before totality and maybe take a few partial eclipse snaps, then at totality, simply remove the lens hood. GOOGLE "solar filter" or go to B&H or Adorama and search "solar filter."

Extremely helpful and very important advice

[just what I would expect considering the source.]

Please heed

Your eyes are far too important to risk be very careful if you intend on taking photos of the event
01-09-2017, 07:50 AM   #6
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For your safety

Don't use neutral density filters, buy a solar filter instead. The more you zoom in on the sun, the brighter it will be, too dangerously bright for your eyes. Solar filter will protect your eyes from the brightness and heat. That is what I used to have on a 6 inch telescope. Buy a good quality solar filter and be safe..For your info: ASBF ? Baader Solar Filter for Binoculars and Camera-lenses - AstroSolar.com

Last edited by cpdancer; 01-09-2017 at 08:02 AM.
01-09-2017, 08:39 AM   #7
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Your ND filters are NOT labelled in stops! They are labelled in light-reduction factor. ND8 means 8x less light comes through - that is only 3 stops. So, your total is only 6 stops. Not enough. You need around 12 stops or more if you want to photograph any portion of the eclipse while the sun is not totally covered.

See here: Transit of Venus for some suggestions. Note that here I have used a 3.0 filter - in this case, the 3.0 is the power of ten reduction in light, or 1000 (about equal to 10 stops).

If you have enough ND filtration, you are perfectly fine with your camera.
01-09-2017, 09:31 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by AstroDave Quote
Your ND filters are NOT labelled in stops! They are labelled in light-reduction factor. ND8 means 8x less light comes through - that is only 3 stops. So, your total is only 6 stops. Not enough. You need around 12 stops or more if you want to photograph any portion of the eclipse while the sun is not totally covered.

See here: Transit of Venus for some suggestions. Note that here I have used a 3.0 filter - in this case, the 3.0 is the power of ten reduction in light, or 1000 (about equal to 10 stops).

If you have enough ND filtration, you are perfectly fine with your camera.
I know nothing about taking photographs of the Sun and/or an eclipse so I cannot urge anything except caution.

Your eyes are, obviously, not replaceable as far as I know.

the link for the suggested filters given by CP Dancer is apparently for an European site, it does have a link to a US company:

http://www.astro-physics.com/

I know nothing about that vendor nor any of the others you can find by doing a google search for the product.

01-09-2017, 10:35 AM   #9
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Thanks, everyone, for your insights about keeping my sight. I wish I would have searched harder on the forum for eclipse threads, because there's a bunch. This is going to be a trending topic throughout the year.

My view of the eclipse is going to be in western Nebraska -- close enough to the Denver area that one can drive there in the morning before the eclipse, if needed, but I'll be camping overnight near Lake McConaughy near the town of Ogallalla. PM me if you have questions about the lay of the land in this little corner of the world.
01-09-2017, 11:35 AM - 2 Likes   #10
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All you probably need to know: Guide to the Total Solar Eclipse: August 21, 2017 - Sky & Telescope
01-09-2017, 11:38 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by pixelsaurus Quote
trust someone on the forum to be very helpful
01-09-2017, 04:10 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aslyfox Quote
trust someone on the forum to be very helpful
cheers
01-09-2017, 04:56 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
Motels/hotels in the deserts of eastern Oregon, an area which probably has the highest probability for clear skies, have been totally sold out for many months. Remember that leading up to the moment of totality, the sun is incredibly bright and a camera lens, acting like a magnifying glass, concentrates that light into a spot that can melt plastic or the retina of your eye in a second, faster than you realize it's happening. If you plan to line up your shot before totality, DO NOT look through the viewfinder if you value your eyes. DO NOT use live view if you value the senor of your camera. DO NOT trust your eyes or the sensor to photographic ND filters, they are inadequate. What I plan to do is get a solar filter of the kind used for viewing the sun through a telescope. There are both round filters in a mount, similar to regular photographic filters but generally larger, and sheets of mylar-like material that can be fitted over the end of a camera lens with gaffer tape or perhaps a rubber band. I intend to get the sheet material (it's cheaper) and tape it to a lens hood, align before totality and maybe take a few partial eclipse snaps, then at totality, simply remove the lens hood. GOOGLE "solar filter" or go to B&H or Adorama and search "solar filter."
These are very important cautions.

DO NOT
forget to put the solar filter BACK on the lens just before the totality is done. Even though you're having a wonderful celebration of the great show just seen.

As mentioned above - Baader Solar Filter made with Baader Solar Film (you can do a DYI solar filter with it, as WPRESTO is doing).
01-10-2017, 08:24 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by NoCo Pentaxian Quote
Thanks, everyone, for your insights about keeping my sight. I wish I would have searched harder on the forum for eclipse threads, because there's a bunch. This is going to be a trending topic throughout the year.

My view of the eclipse is going to be in western Nebraska -- close enough to the Denver area that one can drive there in the morning before the eclipse, if needed, but I'll be camping overnight near Lake McConaughy near the town of Ogallalla. PM me if you have questions about the lay of the land in this little corner of the world.
You should go up to Alliance instead, and join the (probably large) throng at CarHenge. The beaches at Big Mac will be just as jam-packed on a summer day anyway...

Jim (Omahan for 27 yrs)
01-10-2017, 11:34 PM   #15
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QuoteQuote:
You should go up to Alliance instead, and join the (probably large) throng at CarHenge. The beaches at Big Mac will be just as jam-packed on a summer day anyway...


After scouting locations on Saturday and Sunday (probably some Sandhills windmill or something) it will be nice to cool off. I agree that Carhenge will likely be a zoo!


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