How To Take Pictures of Solar Eclipse With Digital Camera

Piper O'Shanassy07 Mar 2022

Whenever the moon passes exactly between the earth and the sun, people are blessed with one of nature's most spectacular displays: a total solar eclipse. It is a sight that practically every spectator wishes to catch in a photograph. Due to the sheer rarity of this phenomenon, the limited amount of time to shoot it, and the subject's diverse nature, it's a photographic opportunity that necessitates the appropriate gear, setup, preparation, and expertise.

What Is a Solar Eclipse?

A solar eclipse is a unique and remarkable cosmic occurrence that occurs when the Moon passes between the sun and the earth, partially or completely blocking the sun rays and producing a shadow on the earth. Solar eclipses may occur only if the moon is new and directly proportioned with the sun and the earth, and they can be partial or total based on the moon's closeness to the earth and the respective alignment of the three.

Once the moon completely covers the sun, this is referred to as a total solar eclipse. It is the most difficult of the three to see since numerous things must occur at the same time. Initially, the three astronomical objects must be perfectly oriented for the moon to completely obstruct the sun and project its shadow. Secondly, the moon must be at the proper distance from the earth since if it's too far away, it will not completely conceal the Sun. Finally, to observe a total solar eclipse, you must be in the straight path of the moon and the sun's alignment, or the middle of the moon's shadow.

Light levels could drop to very low levels during totality, producing an eerie atmosphere and even sometimes letting people see stars during the day. You may witness a "ring of fire" surrounding the moon or the sun's corona that is rather spectacular.

Can You Take Pictures of a Solar Eclipse With a Digital Camera?

Taking spectacular photos of a solar eclipse requires some expertise and special equipment. However, you can capture the spectacle with your digital camera. If you want to shoot a solar eclipse, you must plan ahead of time. You only get to see this occurrence a few times in your life, so it's critical to be prepared with the proper equipment and a basic grasp of compositions before the sun would set.

You must decide in advance on whether you should shoot the complete sequence of the solar eclipse or only the time of totality once the moon conceals the sun. It's preferable to photograph the entire process from start to finish, so you get images of all the stages — from the partial solar eclipse to the diamond ring to totality and back. The advantage of having the complete sequence in photographs is that you could subsequently merge them to create a beautiful composite image. Keep in mind that you will need to be patient as the process may take some time.

What Is a Digital Camera Solar Filter?

When shooting a solar eclipse, there are some extremely crucial points to bear in mind to avoid damaging your camera or your eyes. 

Camera solar filters have two purposes: to shield the camera from direct sunlight and to prevent you from unintentionally looking at the sun through an unfiltered device. The solar filter should always be connected to the front of your camera lens. This keeps the sun's light and its heat away from the optics. Ensure that the filter is properly fastened so it doesn't come off even if your device is knocked or the wind unexpectedly blows, while also making sure it's loose enough that you can easily remove it at the start of totality. 

There are three types of solar filters for digital cameras. Metal on glass, which is typically the most robust and costly; aluminized polyester film, also known as aluminized Mylar, and black polymer, which occasionally has a coating of aluminized polyester on one side. Some filters make the sun white, whereas others make it yellow, orange, or blue. All are effective so it's up to you to choose which filter is best.

Solar filters for cameras are offered in two varieties: "Full-Aperture" and "Off-Axis." These filters are designed to be placed in front of the camera lens. Solar filters should not be used in the filter slots of bigger telephoto lenses that have them.

Full-aperture solar filters are the preferable option. This is because the filter entirely shields the front of the camera, allowing the full lens to be utilized. No refocusing of the camera lens is required whenever the filter is removed at the start of totality or when it's repositioned once the total phase ends.

Safety Tips To Keep in Mind

When shooting a solar eclipse, there are some extremely crucial points to bear in mind to avoid damaging your camera or your eyes. 

  • Avoid looking at the sun with your bare eyes. Your vision may be permanently damaged, and you could even go blind as a consequence. Always use approved solar viewing glasses. We've all caught a glimpse of the sun, but extended exposure threatens lifelong harm. Whenever the moon conceals a part of the sun while in an eclipse, the brightness remains constant. The only time it is safe to gaze directly at the sun with your bare eyes is during the brief moment of totality at the peak of a total solar eclipse.
  • Pointing a camera at the sun is dangerous except if the optics are equipped with an approved solar filter. The strength and brilliance of the sunlight can be magnified by optics, posing a threat to your equipment.
  • Due to the increase in the intensity and brightness of the sunlight passing through magnifying optics, do not stare through the viewfinder of an unfiltered SLR camera while positioned at or near the sun.
  • Don't look through the viewfinder of a rangefinder camera while it is oriented at or close to the sun since the optical viewfinder would not shield your eyes from the sun's harmful rays.
  • Avoid the danger of directing intense, unfiltered sunlight at your camera's sensor. Don't point an unfiltered digital camera at the sun while using live view or even an electronic viewfinder.

One thing that makes taking photos of the solar eclipse so appealing is the rarity of such an event, and how it might seem easy to capture that moment in photos. Nonetheless, before you decide to snap a photo of the eclipse using your digital camera, make sure to follow all safety measures and be fully prepared. Most importantly, remember that the solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime experience in and of itself, so don't get so caught up in shooting photos that you lose out on appreciating the splendor of such a magnificent phenomenon.

Piper O'Shanassy

Piper O'Shanassy

Piper grew up with a love of animals, which quickly turned into a love of photographing them. She shares her tips and tricks on photography, and hopes she can help you shortcut your expansion of a passion.

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