Have you ever witnessed a total solar eclipse? Seeing a solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The Sun, Earth, and Moon are all aligned during a solar eclipse. A total solar eclipse, in which the Moon fully covers the Sun, does not happen very often and lasts only a few minutes.
But witnessing this beautiful natural phenomenon is something special. The temperature decreases, the birds stop singing, your heartbeat shifts, and everything becomes utterly silent for just one minute. Not only does it become quiet, but it also becomes incredibly dark as the Moon moves in front of the Sun. It isn't easy to put into words, but those who have experienced it will recognize it.
Observing a total solar eclipse is one thing; photographing one is quite another. For many, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. When you decide to photograph anything, it is critical to focus not just on your shot but also on the overall experience.
In this blog by BnW Collections, we will discuss how to photograph a solar eclipse. Capturing such a natural phenomenon necessitates some preparation, which we will discuss here. So, let's dive into this:
What Is A Solar Eclipse?
When the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, it casts its own shadow on the Earth's surface, causing a solar eclipse. If you are in the path of totality, you will witness the moon appear to wipe out the entire disc of the sun, resulting in a total solar eclipse. If you are at the edge of the shadow, you will observe the moon hiding only a portion of the sun, which is known as a partial eclipse. Either exhibition provides an opportunity for memorable photos.
A total solar eclipse may appear to be an uncommon occurrence, but solar eclipses occur two to four times every year anywhere on Earth. They seem rare because the moon's shadow reaches only approximately 50 miles of the Earth's surface, whereas most of the Earth's surface is covered by water. You won't be able to watch the eclipse unless you're in a boat that can cruise wherever the shadow makes landfall.
The moon's shadow will only pass over you once every century if you stand in a single location on Earth. The Earth's tilt and the fluctuation of the moon's orbit around the Earth and the Earth's orbit around the sun can be blamed for this.
Is It Possible To Photograph A Solar Eclipse?
Yes! You'll need the right tools, like a DSLR camera with proper camera settings and gears. However, there are also ways to photograph an eclipse with your smartphone.
What Camera Equipment Do You Need to Photograph a Solar Eclipse?
Whether you intend to photograph or not, some equipment is required to witness a solar eclipse. It is dangerous to look directly at the sun with your naked eye. Therefore, if you intend to see a solar eclipse, you must have solar eclipse glasses. You can also make your own pinhole camera out of a cardboard box and see the eclipse with your iPhone or other smartphone cameras or with the live view display on your digital camera.
The following is a list of the basic equipment you'll need to begin photographing a solar eclipse:
• DSLR Camera
• Telephoto Lens
• Solar Filter
• Memory Cards
• Remote Shutter Release
What Camera Settings Are Required to Photograph a Solar Eclipse?
Solar eclipses are dynamic occurrences that confront photographers with unique challenges—lighting conditions change constantly throughout the eclipse. As a solar eclipse photographer, you must be able to adjust settings on the fly in order to acquire photographs and account for the changing dynamic range of the light. When preparing to capture an eclipse, here are some recommended starting points for your camera settings:
You should have your ISO set to the lowest setting possible, preferably ISO 100 or ISO 200.
Set your camera to manual mode to experiment with different exposure settings and disable autofocus.
For optimal exposure, set your lens to between f/5.6 and f/8.
Start by setting your camera at its fastest shutter speed and adjusting down as the light fades.
When you bracket your photographs, you take many exposures of the same object but with different camera settings. For example, if you're playing with aperture, you might shoot one photograph at the settings you believe are optimal, then another one-stop down, and another one-stop up. This ensures that you have options while selecting photos.
As the eclipse progresses, prepare to change your shutter speed and other camera settings. When photographing a total eclipse, keep in mind that the best exposure period can be quite long.
Considerations for Photographing a Solar Eclipse
The two most important factors to consider while photographing a solar eclipse are framing and focus.
Framing can be challenging for a solar eclipse photographer, especially if they intend to include scenery and people or take a more detailed timelapse type long exposure shot. Frame your shot carefully before reaching totality, or the point of absolute darkness when the sun is completely eclipsed, to get a perfect shot.
Appropriately focusing when photographing a solar eclipse can be difficult regardless of the camera lens or focal length. Some photographers propose focusing on the full moon before it visually collides with the sun.
You must decide early on whether you will shoot the entire sequence of the solar eclipse or just the period of totality when the moon blocks the sun. We recommend capturing the entire sequence from start to finish so that you have photos of all the phases - from partial eclipse to "diamond ring" to totality and back. The advantage of having the complete sequence in photographs is that you can subsequently combine them to create a nice-looking composite image.
So, are you ready to capture the solar eclipse yourself? Follow the above-mentioned camera settings and get those gear if you don’t have them. Keep in mind that lunar eclipse camera settings could be different and might need some additional equipment.