On Monday, August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible within a band across the entire contiguous United States; If you are not within that band in the USA, you will still be able to see a large portion of the Sun covered by the Moon.
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the image of the sun for a viewer on Earth. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon's apparent diameter is larger than the sun's, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness. Totality occurs in a narrow path across Earth's surface, with the partial solar eclipse visible over a surrounding region thousands of kilometers wide.
Now let us get to the main topic: How to take photos of the Solar eclipse.
|Sun photo in Auto mode.|
So I turned on my camera, pointed it to the Sun and tried to take a photo. Here is what I got:
Probably you wouldn't be able to see the photo on the right because it is all white! The Sun is the brightest object for any camera so in Auto mode, all I got was a perfect white photo! (I had to add a border on it so you can at least assume that there is a photo!)
I needed to reduce the light getting into the camera. I changed the camera mode to Manual from Auto. To minimize light, I set up the fastest shutter speed of 1/4000, smallest aperture of f/8 and lowest ISO of 100 on my Panasonic FZ200. This is the best this camera would go to take the least possible light. I zoomed to 24x- around 600mm equivalent on a full frame camera. I took another photo. Same result. I couldn't take a photo of the Sun. It was all white!
Now to be able to take photos of the Sun before and during the Solar Eclipse, I had to do something. I needed to find a way to reduce the light getting on to the sensor. On a summer day, to reduce light getting into our eyes, what do we do? We put on sun-shade or goggles. This is was I needed to do for my camera. I have few natural density filters but my son, Miraj, took them with him on his trip to Sweden and Iceland to photograph water falls. Also, I am not sure if 2x, 4x, 8x ND filters would be able to block enough light. I thought of putting sun goggles in front of the lens but it is not convenient to hold both the camera and the goggles same time. Suddenly an idea stuck into my head. I searched for some old X Ray in the house. Luckily (LOL) having two sports loving boys in the household, it wasn't a difficult job. I cut a piece and put it in front of my camera. Look at the photo of my camera below!
|Panasonic FZ200 for Solar Eclipse|
|Sun photo at noon in broad day light!|
As I say on this blog, in most of the situations, you can take better photos with some easy to follow tips. Possibility of Trial and Error photography is the biggest blessing of digital cameras. Take a trial photo. Find the issue. Try to fix it. Here, the issue was too much light. The solution was to try to reduce the light!