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How to photograph the solar eclipse – an expert’s guide | Tech News

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How to photograph the solar eclipse – an expert’s guide | Tech News

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You can photograph the solar eclipse using your phone (Picture: Getty)

Today, something historic is happening in North America – a total solar eclipse.

Large and looming, the total eclipse is something people are expected to travel hundreds of miles for, but if you want to keep the memory of this event, what is the best way to photograph it?

One solar eclipse expert and astronomer Dr Tyler Nordgren, told Metro.co.uk to only photograph your second, and enjoy your first. 

‘I’ve only ever photographed one eclipse and I have stopped recommending it to people,’ he said.

‘If anything my recommendation is “See your first eclipse, photograph your second.” I feel there is so much going on during an eclipse that I don’t want folks wasting any time fiddling with their camera or phone during any of it, especially totality.’

He said that if you want to picture something, picture yourself watching the eclipse instead.

‘If you want to photograph something, set up an iPad or camera on a tripod and have it aimed at you and the crowd. Set it to video and just let it go,’ he said.

‘My wife did that for 2017 and looking back on it, it was the most meaningful souvenir from that eclipse seeing us as we all went bonkers at the moment of totality.’

But if you’re lucky enough to be watching your second eclipse, or just want to go for it anyway, what should you do? 

It’s recommended to enjoy the eclipse before picturing it (Picture: Getty)

How to take a picture of the solar eclipse using your smart phone

Photographer Todd Vorenkamp told Metro.co.uk that you need to be prepared. 

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‘For a smartphone, you’ll have to use some sort of filter during partial phases of the eclipse, but you can remove the filter for totality,’ he said. 

Nasa suggests getting a zoom lens attachment for your phone, for a 12x to 18x magnification.

Mr Vorenkamp added: ‘I highly recommend that you not focus on taking too many shots with the phone as the eclipse is much better viewed through your own eyes.

‘Also, know that the Sun will be very small in the image as smartphones use wide-angle lenses, generally.’

The American Space Agency also recommends practising photography on the Moon beforehand to understand how to handle focus and exposure. 

It’s still important to maintain safe practices when shooting the eclipse, so be wary of removing your protective eye gear, as the light could damage your camera’s sensor, and more importantly, your own eyes. 

It’s also recommended that you take any pictures in HDR mode or night mode, which can help still showcase the image even after it gets dark.

The sequence of the 2017 solar eclipse (Picture: Getty)

How to take a photo of the eclipse using a professional camera

The most important thing is your safety, so please do not stare at the solar eclipse with your naked eyes as this could cause some serious damage

Mr Vorenkamp warned in his guide: ‘DO NOT point a camera at the Sun unless the optics are fitted with a certified solar filter. Optics can magnify the intensity and brightness of sunlight, and this can cause damage to your equipment.’ 

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Dr Nordgren recommended that any lens used should be from a wide angle to a telephoto and to set its focus to infinity ahead of time. 

He says to set the focus on the manual and tape it in place ‘so nothing jiggles it in the excitement of the eclipse’.

To secure the camera, place it on a tripod and during the partial phase, cover the lens opening with approved eclipse filter material or keep it covered during the partial phase with a blanket or a hat so the camera doesn’t get too hot. 

‘During totality don’t forget to remove the solar filter,’ he warns. 

‘Then take as many photos of as many different exposure times as you can without looking at the camera. I cannot stress highly enough that you need to practice this ahead of time.’ 


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