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04-01-2016, 09:48 PM   #1
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Shooting the sun... Even possible?

So, i've gotten some pretty nice shots of the moon, and I wanted to step my game up to the next level. I've tried setting my shutter speed as high as it will go to push the histogram to the left as much as possible, but even lowering the highlights doesn't do much. Do I need special equipment?

04-01-2016, 10:04 PM   #2
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An ND filter or two should do the trick. The Sun is really, really bright, after all

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04-01-2016, 10:08 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by neostyles Quote
So, i've gotten some pretty nice shots of the moon, and I wanted to step my game up to the next level. I've tried setting my shutter speed as high as it will go to push the histogram to the left as much as possible, but even lowering the highlights doesn't do much. Do I need special equipment?
First off i hope your not looking thru the viewfinder with a powerful lens/telescope looking at the sun.

Depending what your trying to achieve you'll probably need a hydrogen filter if you want to photograph the surface of the sun. If you just trying to capture the sun shape and some sun spots the filter they use for viewing solar eclipses should be sufficiant.
04-01-2016, 10:55 PM   #4
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Shoot through welders goggles

04-01-2016, 11:12 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dr_who Quote
First off i hope your not looking thru the viewfinder with a powerful lens/telescope looking at the sun.

Depending what your trying to achieve you'll probably need a hydrogen filter if you want to photograph the surface of the sun. If you just trying to capture the sun shape and some sun spots the filter they use for viewing solar eclipses should be sufficiant.
++1 to that, use live view if directly shooting the sun, even with filters. Live view can never generate enough light to harm you. Also, be very careful about filters -- if they only block visible light and not UV and IR too it is actually easier to destroy your eyes.

Indirect shooting is easier and safer. Use a scope, tele lens or even a pinhole viewer to project an image on a surface (e.g. a sheet of paper or a wall) and shoot that. Don't focus the light to a point, you want an image of the solar disk. Focussing to a point is a good way to start a fire, especially when projecting onto paper.
04-02-2016, 08:48 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by neostyles Quote
So, i've gotten some pretty nice shots of the moon, and I wanted to step my game up to the next level. I've tried setting my shutter speed as high as it will go to push the histogram to the left as much as possible, but even lowering the highlights doesn't do much. Do I need special equipment?
shooting it at sunset would help. It would be distorted a little however
04-02-2016, 10:19 AM   #7
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Photographing the sun is EXTREMELY dangerous! Looking through the viewfinder is just like a telescope. Read what NASA has on this subject: Safe Solar Viewing : Transit of Venus, Sun-Earth Day 2012

04-03-2016, 06:15 AM - 1 Like   #8
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A few ways to do this. One is to have a telescope project an image onto a flat surface and photograph that.

ND filters are good, but you really have to stack them.

Another way to cut the amount of light coming through the lens is to put an aperture in front of your lens, An old lens cap with a 1/4' hole would greatly reduce the amount of light even reaching the lens. Then ND filters as needed. Even then never look through the viewfinder without proper eye protection. If you are using a digital camera.just take a few shots and adjust from there.

Below is a photograph I shot of the planet Venus transit of the sun a few years ago. It was shot with a 40 year old Jason Astronomical telescope. It was not in good shape, but it worked. I hadn't used it in decades and the glass looked it. The telescope has a right angle adapter for the eyepiece and a white metalic card that you can mount to project the image on. Then I shot the photo with a Canon Powershot camera. The little kids on the neighborhood got quite a kick out of it and when their parents came over to check it out, so did they, It is no groundbreaking photo but I did capture a once in a lifetime event and was able to share it with some other people.
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04-03-2016, 11:40 AM   #9
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My first few attempts have been though live view. Def don't want to mess with the sun's brightness. Reminds me of this scene from one of my favorite movies, sunshine

04-25-2016, 05:57 PM   #10
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What about stacking the new Lee Super Stopper (15 stop) and the Big Stopper?
04-25-2016, 06:06 PM   #11
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I did ok with just a 9 stop ND for some basic sunspots and gaseous detail. Have fun...play safe.

Sun Spots
K5 & F*300/4.5 & Hoya 9-stop ND

Last edited by mikeSF; 04-25-2016 at 08:08 PM.
04-25-2016, 06:34 PM   #12
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Google "solar filter" and you'll soon track down the filters made for amateur telescopes for viewing the sun. BEWARE OF USING LIVE VIEW WITHOUT SUCH A FILTER IN PLACE lest you destroy your sensor by melting it and even melting a hole right through the back of your camera. After all, the lens is like a magnifying glass concentrating the sun rays into a small spot in the manner that some evil children would kill ants. Google something akin to "how to photograph the sun" or "photographing sunspots" or "photographing an eclipse." Because of the spectacular eclipse coming August next year, there is almost certainly some good advice being posted on line.
BTW: A college friend had a Leica M3 he treasured. He was sitting on the floor admiring the clarity of his Sumicron f2 by turning the camera in the sunlight. I warned him of the danger - too late - he had burned a hole through the shutter curtain.

Last edited by WPRESTO; 04-25-2016 at 06:41 PM.
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