If you’re excited to shoot the eclipse but you don’t have a solar filter to protect your camera, here are some directions for a handy DIY solar filter that will allow you to get some shots.
I am a rank amateur in photography, but I do have a Macgyver streak, and was actually born in Kentucky, so I have some leeway lest you judge me too harshly as being overly Bubba.
The process is simple:
- get a cardboard mailing tube (the beefier the better) that fits over your lens (barely) … anywhere shipping stuff is sold
- cut two sections of the tube (more on this later)…cut the film to fit the outer diameter of the tube (or do it later as I did)
- glue the film to one section of tube
- glue the other section of the tube to the assembly
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What if you had the chance to film something 55 miles wide traveling just over Mach3 with your drone? As it turns out, on Aug. 21, you’ll have that very opportunity. A solar eclipse – or alignment of the sun, moon and earth – is taking place for the first time in 38 years. The last cosmic event of this magnitude happened on Feb. 26, 1979 – a time long before you could use the battery-powered supercomputer in your pocket to fly a self-stabilizing, GPS-guided aircraft with a 4k camera, using a high-bandwidth spread spectrum wireless control system. (Sheesh, drones sound so impressive when you describe them like that.)
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In 1995, with a borrowed telescope and a couple of cameras, Babak Tafreshi traveled to a remote locale halfway across Iran to record an event that lasted a mere 14 seconds. It was a total solar eclipse—the first of 12 he has photographed in a career that has earned him steady work for National Geographic.
“The phenomenon is quite stunning,” says the photojournalist. “The change of the light and the environment is very dramatic.” It’s not uncommon to see birds hustling back to their nests and mosquitoes springing to life in midday.
Needless to say, you can’t help but be deeply moved by the experience. “It happens to everybody,” Tafreshi admits, “even those scientists who have seen total eclipses plenty of times.”
On August 21, Trafreshi will be here in the U.S. to record the Great American Eclipse, which will be visible across much of the country. By now, he’s accustomed to dealing with the dramatic changes in light and the challenges presented by the oh-so-brief window when the moon completely obscures the sun.
If you’re one of the lucky ones in the total eclipse’s path, here’s what you need to know to photograph the event.
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(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.
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…
At a recent apartment blaze in Oakland, California, a sheriff deputy directing firefighters with a drone-mounted video camera encountered a new hazard: a civilian quad copter that buzzed onto the scene.
“It’s happened twice in the past few months,” said Alameda County Deputy Sheriff Richard Hassna, the department’s chief pilot who was using the device. “We’re overhead at the scene of a fire relaying information to the command agency and a hobbyist flies right below us and parks.”
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(Editor’s note: Marie Tartar continues her series of guest posts regarding her and her husband’s preparations for the upcoming total solar eclipse. The photograph above is of from the area they will be during the eclipse. This installment covers the critical steps for viewers of the event to protect their vision.)
In our last post, Part 1 of Eclipse 2017 preparation, we addressed the ‘where’ of our plans for the Great American Eclipse of 2017: We will be in the path of totality, along the centerline, in Grand Teton National Park.
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(Editor’s note: Marie Tartar’s photography, above and below the waterline, is compelling. In the first part of her series of guest posts, she describes the origins of her love of the eclipse. Here, she chronicles her preparations for the up coming total eclipse of the sun; the first time in North America since 1979.)
A month from now, on August 21, 2017, North America will play host to a total solar eclipse, for the first time in many years. My personal experience with total solar eclipses is limited and to say I am intimidated would be an understatement. This August, I will be positioned in a scenically beautiful place through which the total eclipse will pass. The eclipse is a complex topic.This first of a series of articles covers preparations. Upcoming ones tackle topics from deciding on a location, eye protection, and photographic specifics. Throughout this series of articles, I will chart my preparations for this epic event and share what I learn along the way.
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Wedding photography is not what it used to be. I don’t mean this in a good way or a bad way, it just seems like with any advancement in technology comes a new challenge. Many couples today want both still photos and video of their wedding. This makes sense since it is often the biggest day of their life. Does that mean we now have videographers to deal with in our shots? No, it’s a two-way street. We, as professionals, both have to work together to deliver the best possible product to the lucky couple. Saying someone got in the way means you didn’t try hard enough.
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Update: The Federal Trade Commission has released a statement with safety guidlines for solar viewing glasses.
If you’re planning to view the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, make sure you’ve got the right safety gear.
Phony eclipse glasses are currently flooding the marketplace, according to the American Astronomical Society (AAS). This counterfeit equipment falsely claims to meet the international standard for safe solar viewing, which is known as ISO 12312-2 (also written as ISO 12312-2:2015).
So how do you know that your eclipse glasses or handheld viewers are safe? You can’t really check them yourself; doing so requires pretty high-tech lab equipment. But the AAS has done such legwork for you and identified a number of reputable suppliers, including (but not limited to) American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, Celestron and Daystar. You can also trust the businesses and other organizations that sell gear made by these companies, AAS representatives said. (There are many such retailers, including Wal-Mart, Lowes and Toys R Us.) [The Best ISO-Certified Gear to See the 2017 Solar Eclipse]