Photographing Solar Eclipses


R o b

Link Posted 22/07/2008 - 12:59
Has anyone got any experience photographing total solar eclipses? There's one happening on the first of August and with luck I'll be in Mongolia to see it.

The current plan is to try it with a 300mm lens on my K20D, and probably with a Pentax A 2x converter too. Mind you it lasts less than two and a half minutes, so there's not much time for messing about. I also plan to do a lot of bracketing.

Any other suggestions or experience to pass on?

Robert.

beakynet

Link Posted 22/07/2008 - 13:41
There is a very good site on Eclipse Photography and you will need a Solar Filter (Perhaps the cheepest I could find) as only short direct visual exposure to the sun can cause damage. It is also advisable to use a right angle finder and a tripod with remote release.

Othe filters do exist that may be better optically for photography. With all of these you can practice before you go to ensure you can get the right shutter and apature combination as you will likely need to use full manual.
Bodies: K5IIs, K7, MZ5n, LX, MV
Lenses: DA*16-50, DA18-55WR, DA18-135, DAL35, M50 F2, A50 f1.4, FA50 f1.4, DA*50-135, DA55-300, Tamron 70-300, DFA 100 WR Macro, M135 f3.5, Sigma 120-400 APO DG HSM, Tokina 500 f8.0
Flash: Metz 58, Metz 48
Accessories: BG4, Pentax right angle finder, Pentax mirror adaptor lens, O-ME53 Viewfinder Loupe
Auto 110 System: Auto 110, Winder, 18mm, 24mm, 50mm, 70mm, 20-40mm, AF100P, 1.7x telecon

Father Ted

Link Posted 22/07/2008 - 16:42
Or you could use a pinhole camera.
A large piece of card with a pin hole through it, another piece of white card behind it. Project the image of the sun through the hole onto the screen and photograph that. That will work until totality and give quite nice results if you get it right, ( a friend of mine did it a few years ago when we had a partial eclipse ). I could never get it right.

This method also ensures no damage can possibly be caused to camera or retina.
Getting there! Thanks to you guys

Pentax K10d, *istDL, Kit lens ( 18-55mm ), 50mm f1.7 lens, Tamron 70-300mm lens, Prinzflex 70-162 manual lens, Various old flashes.
Last Edited by Father Ted on 22/07/2008 - 16:42

johnriley

Link Posted 22/07/2008 - 17:37
Never, ever, look at the Sun through a camera, not even with a solar filter. They can fracture without warning.

The advice I read was to project the image of the Sun on a piece of card and view (photograph?) that.
Best regards, John

Father Ted

Link Posted 22/07/2008 - 19:44
johnriley wrote:
Never, ever, look at the Sun through a camera, not even with a solar filter. They can fracture without warning.

The advice I read was to project the image of the Sun on a piece of card and view (photograph?) that.

Couldn't agree more.
I have a solar filter for my telescope and have never been able to bring myself to use it. A friend of mine has a specialist solar telescope with hydrogen alpha filter, unfortunately, I haven't been to see him since he got it..but I will take my camera when I go.!
Getting there! Thanks to you guys

Pentax K10d, *istDL, Kit lens ( 18-55mm ), 50mm f1.7 lens, Tamron 70-300mm lens, Prinzflex 70-162 manual lens, Various old flashes.

R o b

Link Posted 23/07/2008 - 00:36
Thanks for the pointer to Fred Espenak's site - lots of good stuff on there. I'll have to print some of it out to take with me. I've got a remote release and tripod, though it's a bit cheap. I hope I'll be able to use live view instead of a right angle finder.

I don't think I'll bother trying to take photos until totality, they'd not be that interesting anyway. The last eclipse I saw I just projected an image onto a white card using a pair of binoculars. That works pretty well. I only had a point and shoot camera at the time, so it wasn't worth trying to photograph the sun. This time I've got a much better chance.

After all this it'll probably be cloudy...

Robert.

beakynet

Link Posted 23/07/2008 - 12:39
Remember not to take photos without the filter in place, it will very likely damage your sensor. The filter is also designed to protect the lens from heat from the sun and you will need to have the camera pointed in that direction (note a good tripod head will help you keep track on the sun) for some time.

As John hinted, any economy on the filter might be faulse economy!
Bodies: K5IIs, K7, MZ5n, LX, MV
Lenses: DA*16-50, DA18-55WR, DA18-135, DAL35, M50 F2, A50 f1.4, FA50 f1.4, DA*50-135, DA55-300, Tamron 70-300, DFA 100 WR Macro, M135 f3.5, Sigma 120-400 APO DG HSM, Tokina 500 f8.0
Flash: Metz 58, Metz 48
Accessories: BG4, Pentax right angle finder, Pentax mirror adaptor lens, O-ME53 Viewfinder Loupe
Auto 110 System: Auto 110, Winder, 18mm, 24mm, 50mm, 70mm, 20-40mm, AF100P, 1.7x telecon
Last Edited by beakynet on 23/07/2008 - 12:41

Father Ted

Link Posted 23/07/2008 - 12:53
R o b wrote:
I don't think I'll bother trying to take photos until totality, Robert.

If you are taking photos through the viewfinder...be VERY careful. Even slightly either side of totality is enough to damage your eyes!! And totality doesn't last that long.

But if it works out for you..don't forget to show us!
Getting there! Thanks to you guys

Pentax K10d, *istDL, Kit lens ( 18-55mm ), 50mm f1.7 lens, Tamron 70-300mm lens, Prinzflex 70-162 manual lens, Various old flashes.

ChrisA

Link Posted 23/07/2008 - 12:54
R o b wrote:
I don't think I'll bother trying to take photos until totality, they'd not be that interesting anyway.

Be careful not to fall foul of an elementary mistake I made when trying to photograph a lunar eclipse - motion blur.

During totality there won't be much light, so the temptation will be to use long exposures. Don't! The sun moves at the same speed as the moon, which is very quickly, in pixel terms.
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Pentax K-3, DA18-135, DA35 F2.4, DA17-70, DA55-300, FA28-200, A50 F1.7, A100 F4 Macro, A400 F5.6, Sigma 10-20 EXDC, 50-500 F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS Samsung flash SEF-54PZF(x2)
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