July 13, 2017

Photographing the Solar Eclipse 2017

As you may know by now, on August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will occur whose path of totality spans the entire United States. Even if you are not in the complete shadow of the moon hiding the sun, you can still get interesting photos of this astronomical event.

May 1993
Partial Solar Eclipse
Las Vegas, NV

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Here are some resources that you may find useful. First up is How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse on B&H Photo's web site with suggestions for gear (naturally) and process.






Second, at EclipseWise is a page with an interactive map of where the path of totality falls across the USA. By clicking on the map you can find out just how much of the eclipse you will experience. For example, in Missoula, Montana, 92% of the sun will be blocked by the moon between 10:15 a.m. and 12:52 p.m.


And at Mr. Eclipse are some useful tips for photographing the celestial show, including an illustration of how lens length affects the size of the sun/moon in the frame and suggested exposure settings.

Finally, thanks to the Rocky Mountain School of Photography for the video on photographing the eclipse and providing these links and many more. 

Way back in 1993, I photographed a partial eclipse with a film camera using color print film. As I was new to photography at the time, I'm sure the photo lab rescued the exposures in these pictures! But you don't have to have a lot of fancy gear to get photos. These were shot with a 300mm lens on a 35mm (full frame) camera mounted on a tripod.

May 1993
Partial Solar Eclipse
Las Vegas, NV

Today, use whatever camera you currently own with the longest lens you have. A camera with a cropped sensor helps to give you a larger image of the eclipse. Follow the suggestions at the links and you could surprise yourself with your own photos of the event, no matter where you are in the country.