Shoot a total eclipse
You can capture the amazing beauty of a total solar eclipse with these simple steps
To photograph the sun, you normally need to fit an extremely strong solar viewing filter over the lens to protect your eyes
and your camera from damage. But there is one time that this isn’t necessary, and that’s during a total solar eclipse.
The totality – when the moon covers the entire surface of the sun – is the only time you can shoot the eclipse without special filters. This short event allows you to capture the corona, or crown, that briefly appears around the sun. The next total solar eclipse takes place this across, across the USA on Monday 21st August.
Find out where and when the total eclipse will happen at
http://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-maps. You’ll also need to decide which lens to use. To include the eclipse and the corona around it, a 500mm lens is a good starting point for a full-frame camera, or 300mm on an APS-C camera. You’ll also need a tripod to fix your camera in position.
The brightness of the corona is not predictable and is also affected by the atmospheric conditions, so you’ll need to bracket your exposures. Use a series of shutter speeds from 1/2,000 to 1 sec to ensure that you capture this amazing phenomena. The totality only lasts a short time, so make sure you are ready.
Once you’re on site, put your camera in manual exposure mode, then set the ISO to 100 and the aperture to f/11. Focus on infinity using manual focus. Using Live View mode will ensure that you don’t ever look at the sun through the viewfinder – but make sure that this is only active during the totality, and cover the front of the lens or use a solar filter at all other times.
It’s only safe to shoot or view the eclipse without a solar filter or protective viewing glasses during the totality. At all other times during the eclipse (and during partial or annular eclipses) you can use the same techniques, but a solar filter should be fitted to the lens and solar viewing glasses worn to avoid eye damage.