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11-05-2009, 08:18 PM   #16
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Only it would be hard to see anything else in the frame.

11-05-2009, 08:48 PM   #17
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Wear some good quality sunglasses (i.e. RayBan) could easily help... that's how i took these picture...



11-05-2009, 10:43 PM   #18
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A regular ND filter or two might help.
11-05-2009, 10:56 PM   #19
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dont use telephoto lenses as they magnifying the light! Live view is an option as your eyes are protected.

11-06-2009, 12:23 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by mithrandir Quote
You could get a piece of welder's glass and it over the viewfinder while you compose your shot.
Not a bad idea.
11-06-2009, 01:00 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Shouldn't be too big a deal with the short exposures necessary to get a good shot.
eg.


And yes, once composed, look away...
Whew, I broke into a sweat just looking at that picture.
11-07-2009, 10:45 AM   #22
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I don't think taking a quick shot in the direction of the sun is going to cause permanent damage but as has been mentioned, it should be avoided if possible. Every one of us has shot a sunrise or sunset shot. We also find ourselves in situations all the time where we are looking into the sun while driving. How long is too long? I'm not really sure. I have experienced burned eyes from snow and also being out in a boat on water for a long time. I have had flash burns from welding with a cheap helmet. It hurts, much like having a handfull of sand in the eyes. I don't know if any of this is the cause of my eyesight not being as good as it once was or just age. Does age actually cause our eyes to get worse as we get older or is it the result of the years of exposure to UV rays?

When my grandfather gave me my first camera he told me to never shoot into the sun. The only problem with that was that everything I seemed to want to photograph was backlit. It is a challenge and thats why we keep doing it. In "Understanding Exposure", Bryan Peterson has a chapter on backlight and the techniques for shooting but no mention of possible eye damage. I don't think it's because there isn't any but something most of us don't concern ourselves with most of the time. Maybe we should.
11-07-2009, 01:25 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramair455 Quote
Its not the heat (infared) light that can damage your eye, its the UV light that does the damage. This can happen anytime of the year, that one good reason why snow skiers wear dark goggles.

You can burn your cornea & conjunctiva with much less exposure that it takes to burn your retina.
Oh, IR is just as bad! You can literally fry your retina by the heat, not the UV. The University hospital of Würzburg (Germany) maintained a "nice" website, which had a set of example images from eyes, damaged by the Sun's radiation. This site is unfortunately offline now.

I wrote about the dangers a couple of years ago, just in advance of the last big solar eclipse over Germany (in 1999) and the misconceptions are widely spread. I think, some things can be safely said:
  • the camera sensor will not be damaged, as it is only exposed for an extremely tiny fraction of a second in most circumstances.
  • the matte screen can melt and you damage the glued parts inside the viewfinder, if you aim a longer lens (better: a lens with a large open diameter) for a prolonged period onto the sun. There have been several incidents of that kind published in film days. SOmebody even got his shutter punctured, probably, because he used mirroro lock-up!
  • the sensor could possibly be damaged, if you use Liveview, because only then it will be unprotected for a long period of time. That would be a no-go for me
  • as long as the Sun is only a compositional part in the image (like in the posted examples), special care is usually not really necessary - just use the camera with appropriate common sense
  • if you want to explicitly take images of the Sun, you would use longer lenses and therefor need much time for focusing etc. and will also aim the camera for a long period onto the Sun. In this case, I always use a dedicated Sun filter, aka a foil filter with a ND4, reducing the Sun's brightnesss by a factor of 10,000x
  • if you want to have "a look" you need a Sun filter of ND5 (factor 100,000) tp really protect your eyey. It is a special feature of dedicated Sun filters to reduce the IR radiation just as much as the visible light!

Ben

11-07-2009, 01:30 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
I don't think taking a quick shot in the direction of the sun is going to cause permanent damage but as has been mentioned, it should be avoided if possible. Every one of us has shot a sunrise or sunset shot. We also find ourselves in situations all the time where we are looking into the sun while driving. How long is too long? I'm not really sure. I have experienced burned eyes from snow and also being out in a boat on water for a long time. I have had flash burns from welding with a cheap helmet. It hurts, much like having a handfull of sand in the eyes. I don't know if any of this is the cause of my eyesight not being as good as it once was or just age. Does age actually cause our eyes to get worse as we get older or is it the result of the years of exposure to UV rays?
Eyes obviously get worse with age, as the muscles deterioate etc. Nevertheless, massive eye problems are quite typical for welders, as the UV radiation is very damaging over time and also as (quite as in any other profession) welders get lax over time and often risk the quick look without protective filters. I have seen images of the retinas of both eyes of a young girl, who found the purple after-images. that you get, when you look into any bright light source, so amusing, that she spend about 20 minutes staring into the Sun. Then she closed her eyes and enjyed the after-images etc. The best eye doctors were able to bring back about 30% of her vision, but she she's got large permamently blind spots. ...

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11-07-2009, 01:47 PM   #25
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Two quick images of the Sun, taken with a telescope and a ND3.8 Baader-Planetarium filter in front.

1. shows the whole Sun as a disk

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11-07-2009, 01:48 PM   #26
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2. takes out a promiment Sun spot, with a long focal length, probably about 3000mm

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11-07-2009, 02:22 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
In this case, I always use a dedicated Sun filter, aka a foil filter with a ND4, reducing the Sun's brightnesss by a factor of 10,000x

if you want to have "a look" you need a Sun filter of ND5 (factor 100,000) to really protect your eyes. It is a special feature of dedicated Sun filters to reduce the IR radiation just as much as the visible light!
Ben, I understand the ND figure we see bandied around this forum to be a power-of-2 rating i.e.

ND4 = 2^2 = 2 stops
ND8 = 2^3 = 3 stops

But here you're using it in a power-of-10 way. Why? Is this scientific rather than photographic practice?

Dan.
11-07-2009, 03:55 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by dosdan Quote
Ben, I understand the ND figure we see bandied around this forum to be a power-of-2 rating i.e.

ND4 = 2^2 = 2 stops
ND8 = 2^3 = 3 stops

But here you're using it in a power-of-10 way. Why? Is this scientific rather than photographic practice?

Dan.
Yes, Dan. It is a kind of confusing, and you are correct. The photographic densities are powers of two, because that relates directly to f-stops. In the scientific world this limitation is not necessary, so NDs follow the general decimal system. The possible confusion here in a photographic community was the reason, why I gave both numbers, the ND and the written out numbers.

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11-08-2009, 11:12 PM   #29
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reeftool: the pain you suffered is from UV keratoconjunctivitis, essentially a sunburn of the cornea and conjunctiva of the eye. Essentially the same thing as welder's flash. Painful, eventually heals, but like repeated sunburns of the skin, repeated UV keratoconjunctivitis can eventually cause long-term health problems.

UV also does cause cataract formation, but fortunately most of us can easily get those surgically removed.

UV is a factor (one of many) in the development of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the developed world. Limit your UV exposure with hats and UV protective lenses: even many (but not all, check with your eyewear provider) clear eyeglass lenses can offer better than 99% blocking of UV rays).

That said, the worry of looking at the sun is not really related to UV damage. The full spectrum of light--IR, visible & UV all contribute to solar maculopathy. Think of starting a fire with a magnifying glass and a piece of paper. Well the cornea and crystalline lens within your eye are the magnifying glass (although 5-10 times more powerful than any magnifier you can buy at your local drugstore) and your retina is the paper. Get the picture?

You'd think you would feel yourself burning a hole in your retina. Unfortunately no. There are no pain receptors inside your eye. All the nerves that make up the retina are designed to respond to stimuli by seeing light, not feeling pain. Burning a hole in your retina is a blissfully painfree experience.

Normally most people find the sun too bright to stare at for a prolonged period of time, but with an eclipse the part you see still is as bright as ever, it's just a much smaller sun. Because it's not as uncomfortable, people are fooled into thinking it's not dangerous, afterall it doesn't hurt. Unfortunately they still suffer solar maculopathy. The burn may not be as large as if it were the full sun, but it still is a permanent scar in the retina with associated vision loss.

With a camera, there are many variables. A telephoto magnifies the sun's image, thereby burning a larger area of your retina than a wide-angle. Faster lenses allow more light in, burning your retina faster than a slow lens. ND filters slow the process further. It's really too complex to offer any real rules of thumb as to how long is too long. Suffice to say that if you see after-images of the sun after looking away, you're pushing your luck. You'll probably (hopefully?) be fine, but you're not too far from permanent damage. What kind of permanent damage? Well, how about a little blind spot in the center of your field of view, just the same size and shape as those after-images you have to deal with for a few minutes, but lasting the rest of your life. I think it must be real annoying.

I happen to like photos with the sun in them. I just tend to prepare focus, exposure, composition, etc. as much as possible with the sun just out of my viewfinder, then quickly recompose and shoot. I look away as soon as I can (i.e. happy with the composition in the viewfinder when on a tripod and take the photo with a remote release, or else as soon as I've depressed the shutter if handheld). Employ any strategies you can to minimize the time you look at the sun as you'll never know how long is too long until it's too late.
11-09-2009, 07:20 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by robjmitchell Quote
Live view is an option as your eyes are protected.
I have to agree with this. Live View is your friend for this sort of shot.
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