Total Solar Eclipse: Photographic Considerations part 3

(Editor’s note: Marie Tartar continues her series of preparations she and her husband, Steve Eilenberg, are making for their trip to the Grand Tetons later this month to photograph the total solar eclipse. Here she shares their preparations regarding photography.)


In part 1 of this series, we discussed the where of preparing for what is being billed as the Great North American Solar Eclipse of 2017. This is an event not to be missed if you can swing it. The next time a total solar eclipse will occur over the Tetons will be in the year 2252, so this is a unique convergence indeed. To experience up to two minutes and 40 seconds of one of the great celestial wonders of our time, it will be necessary to be along the 60-70 mile-wide path of totality, which will sweep the continental US on Monday, August 21, 2017, beginning in Oregon and ending in South Carolina. My husband Steve and I, with two friends, will be in a particularly beautiful spot to experience and photograph the eclipse, Grand Teton National Park.

Eye Protection

In Part 2 of this series, we discussed the need for some specialized equipment to safely view and shoot the partial eclipse run up to and denouement of the big event.  Fortunately, these 2 essential items need not be expensive to be effective. The two absolute musts are eclipse glasses for your eyes and a solar filter for your camera. Only during the brief phase of totality will these not be necessary. The lunar equivalent of a wide angle shot of the eclipse, where the moon is an element, but not the subject of the shot.


With these plans and basics in place, we now need a photographic plan. The following comments assume you want to directly view and photograph the eclipse, both during the partial phases and during totality.  There are easier options…you could just enjoy the experience, which is fleeting and quite unforgettable.  Even photographically, there are less difficult options for memorializing the eclipse than directly shooting the eclipsed sun.  One could use a wide-angle lens, having pre-selected a scene with an interesting foreground, perhaps a lake or mountains, and include the totally eclipsed sun in the overall scene.  Of course, it will be quite small in the frame.  The feature image leading into this post, by my husband Steve, of Jenny Lake, is an example of a potential foreground which might be utilized to frame the eclipsed sun between the Tetons. If you are up for the challenge of directly photographing the eclipse, read on…




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