How to shoot a solar eclipse?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by crm297, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. crm297 macrumors newbie

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    #1
    I am very much an amateur but I want to try to catch some decent shots of the solar eclipse expected here in the UK this Friday.

    Can anyone recommend some camera settings/tips to try (or avoid)? I'm using a Sony A6000 with the kit 18-55 or the 55-210.
     
  2. crm297 thread starter macrumors newbie

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  3. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    #3
    Funny I was thinking the same thing. I was thinking a ND filter to cut down the light. I'd go with the 18-55 as wide as possible. Use spot metering rather than matrix metering. A tripod will be essential and use live view rather than looking through the viewfinder.
    Of course I'll be working, so all a bit academic.
     
  4. PrabhaYadav macrumors newbie

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    #4

    I also same problem.
     
  5. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #5
    Hmm. Would you need to stop the lens down? As it is really bright. I would deffo think a set of NDs are necessary.

    His is taking a number if shots of the sun going to affect sensor? Careful of burn in?

    See my challenge is different to yours... You will be working... I am just crap with a camera! :)
     
  6. LV426 macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Since it's only a partial eclipse, the sun will be sending a ton of light through your lens. A very strong ND filter is a necessity. Just stopping down the lens won't be enough.

    Realistically, you're going to need a focal length of at least 200m (or a telescope) to get any photos worth looking at. It's a similar story when photographing the Moon. I've had some reasonable shots of the moon taken with a 200mm lens and a doubler, taking it to 400mm.

    Sadly, it's looking like I'll be witnessing a total solar eclipse tomorrow. Totally eclipsed by clouds!
     
  7. Hughmac macrumors demi-god

    Hughmac

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    #7
    Me too, I came on here to ask the same question.

    My ND filters will only fit the 18-105, and at the moment I can only find the ND4, so, as I am only planning to shoot at the darkest point (sun just peeping out from behind the moon), I may get away with it?

    May be a moot point as it's forecast to be very overcast tomorrow :(

    Cheers :)

    Hugh
     
  8. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #8
    Yep I meant ND and stop down. I get your point about 200mm. I did get nice shots at 400mm of the moon and since moving to Sony from Canon, I now don't have anymore than 200mm reach.

    Now. I wonder, as I am going to be suffering the cloud eclipse too, it is moot but why not try something different? Challenge time. Do the card and pin hole camera trick to project the eclipse onto a paper or screen of some sort, then take a picture of that? Not the same obviously but as an alternative to getting nothing... Maybe worth a bash no?
     
  9. DevNull0, Mar 19, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015

    DevNull0 macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Use spot metering on the sun? Funny. You sure you wouldn't just use the Sunny/16 rule :)?

    Why? The sun is tiny in the sky.

    --

    OP: Just make sure you do not look at the sun through your viewfinder.
     
  10. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    #10
    Not sure the sunny/16 rule will work to well with ND filters.

    I'd look for some interest in the rest of the photo. The op doesn't have the best lenses for a close up, so choosing a photo with an interesting viewpoint (like people watching the eclipse or a nice landscape).
     
  11. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

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    #11
    No filter, with the most powerful telephoto you can use. The sunny/16 rule, just like shooting at the beach on a sunny day. You are shooting a bright object.
     
  12. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

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    #12
    I would recommend a solar filter but a good ND filter (10 stop) can be used. With that said I did shoot a partial eclipse last October with nothing but a plate glass window for a filter.

    The over-sized windows in our office are about a quarter inch think. The glass has some IR and UV filtering properties to help keep cooling costs down. I set my camera to allow the least amount of light in and shot the Sun through the window. The result is that there were three images as the light was refracted through the glass.

    [​IMG]
    (70 mm, ISO 50, 1/8000, f22)

    The top image is actual Sun and the two lower ones are the refracted images. What amazed me is that you can actually see some sunspots in the two lower images. I wasn't sure that they really were sunspots until I saw some much better pictures with the spots in the same place and configuration.

    I *DID NOT* look through the view finder. Nor did I keep the camera pointed at the Sun for long. I would point the camera in the general direction of the sun and shoot. I would then turn it away and check the results. I ended up with a lot of missed shots but since I was stuck in the office it was neat to actually get a few.

    I also showed people how they could observe the eclipse by using a piece of cardboard with a small hole and a sheet of paper.

    If you do not have a ten stop ND filter or solar filter I would not suggest using live view. Think of the photo sites on your sensor as ants under a magnifying glass. Even if you turn down the ISO and shutter speed you are still leaving the sunlight blazing directly on your sensor in a nice focused pattern.
     
  13. crm297 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    Thanks for all the replies folks.

    Looks likely that I will see very little tomorrow due to cloud cover. Could make for some interesting cloudscapes though I guess. I'm lucky enough to be off work tomorrow. Or perhaps not. I'm a pilot, so being at work would most likely have afforded me a better view.

    I'm slightly relieved. I have no dark filters and, having read a few other opinions, at least I won't be tempted to shoot without one. I don't want to damage my camera.
     
  14. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

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    #14
    Last solar eclipse I saw in the UK was 1999ish IIRC, we tore apart some old 3" diskette cases and used 3-4 layers of diskette material as filters :D
     
  15. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    #15
    Do you have a welding mask? Can double up as an ND filter if you don't have one.
     
  16. crm297 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #16
    Haha, no I don't :)

    I needn't have worried, there was nothing to see where I live, completely overcast.

    Did anyone else get any photos of it?
     
  17. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #17
    We had cloud free blue skies so I tried taking one with my iPhone through a welding mask filter. Didn't have any luck though as there was still way too much light getting through and the camera sensor couldn't cope.
     
  18. Hughmac macrumors demi-god

    Hughmac

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    #18
    No, nothing to see; it was too overcast :(

    Cheers :)

    Hugh
     
  19. MacRy macrumors 68040

    MacRy

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    #19
    I managed to grab a handful when the clouds thinned enough to be able to actually see the sun. Nothing good though.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. mojolicious macrumors 68000

    mojolicious

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    #20
    Heh, here in London the sun might as well have stayed bed this morning. It's a lovely afternoon, but far too late.

    The countdown to 12 August 2026 begins...
     
  21. MacRy macrumors 68040

    MacRy

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    #21
    Typical British weather wasn't it. About half an hour after it was all over and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The sun looked more spectacular this evening than it did this morning.

    [​IMG]
     
  22. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

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    #22
    I'd be very pleased with those, after all nature isn't a studio :)
     
  23. MacRy macrumors 68040

    MacRy

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    #23

    True :)

    Would have been nice to have a bit more dynamic light though rather than the flat, dull, overcast cloudiness that we had.
     
  24. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

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    #24
    Thats just nature's ND filter :D
     
  25. anotherscotsman macrumors 65816

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    #25

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