Want to take a photo of the eclipse? Here are some tips - and what to avoid

These tips will help you get the best (and safest) shot of the solar eclipse.

News 12 Staff

Apr 8, 2024, 4:30 PM

Updated 39 days ago

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Want to take a photo of the eclipse? Here are some tips -  and what to avoid
Are you looking to get the best shot of today's solar eclipse? Below are some tips, and what to avoid:
Please note: Never look directly at the eclipse without appropriate protective eyewear.

What is the best camera to use?

Digital SLR cameras will produce the best photos. Their manual exposure controls and ability to add zoom lenses and accessories like remote shutter buttons will let you make great pictures. Use a smaller aperture — f11 or f17 — to keep the focus "a little bit sharper.”

What if you're using a smartphone?

NASA published detailed guidelines for smartphone eclipse photography in 2017 with the caveat that “smartphones were never designed to do sun and moon photography." That's because the wide-angle lenses on most devices won’t let you capture close-up detail. But new phones released since then come with sophisticated sensors, multiple lenses and image stabilization software that give a better chance.
Some experts suggest HDR, or High Dynamic Range, mode, which takes a series of pictures at different light levels and then blends them into a single shot — ideal for combining an eclipse’s very dark and very bright areas.
But don’t use flash. You can spoil the moment by ruining the vision of those around you whose eyes have adapted to darkness.

What will I need to protect against the sun?

The American Astronomical Society advises using a solar filter to protect cameras against intense sunlight and heat.
You can buy a filter that screws onto DSLR lenses, but it will take time to remove when totality happens.
For smartphones, you can use a spare pair of eclipse glasses and hold them over the lens, or buy a smartphone filter. There's no international standard, but the society's website has a list of models it considers safe. Make sure macro mode is not on.
If you plan to shoot for an extended time, use a tripod.
To keep you gear from overheating, it's recommended that you use a white towel to cover it up.

Can I take a selfie with the eclipse?

Be careful: While you might think your vision isn't at risk because you're not looking at the sun, your phone's screen could reflect harmful ultraviolet light, eye experts have warned.
And if you're using a solar filter on the selfie camera, it will turn the picture dark and you won't show up.
AP wire services contributed to this report.


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