A photographic treat is less than two weeks away! In case you haven’t heard, an annular solar eclipse is happening on the morning of Saturday, October 14th, 2023. Yahoo!
The path of maximum eclipse is just a short road trip away from any of our stores, and the effect will still be decent without going anywhere. Denver metro and the Bay area are both within the ~75% range, and Colorado Springs and Sacramento are supposed to be at 80%. You can track exact times and coverage amounts using NASA’s Eclipse Explorer (click here).
So, aside from knowing where you’ll be and when, what else do you need to work out ahead of time?
Plan your photography precisely
With a little preparation, you’ll dramatically reduce the risk of missing “the shot” when things get real. You should even be able to reserve a little time for being present and looking with your own eyes, rather than watching the whole thing on your little camera screen. There’s just something a little different to the experience in the moment, so don’t miss it!
If you’re able, scope out a comfortable place to observe the eclipse with a clear view of the sky and room to set up a tripod. Bonus points for easy accessibility and or good vibes. Higher elevation isn’t going to make a ton of difference, but the less atmosphere between you and your subject, the better.
Practice photographing the sun. It’s a bit of an odd subject and everything you’ve ever known about exposure is going to be thrown out of the window. The more confident you are with your exposure ahead of time (more on that shortly), the less time you’ll spend fiddling with dials.
If your end goal is a collage depicting the event in several stages like the image below, you may want to determine your shooting schedule. Every minute? Every five? The more carefully you capture the images, the more evenly the results will turn out.
Exposing for the thing you’re not supposed to see
Ultimately, exposure is going to be very subjective. Practice ahead of time lets you determine what it will take to get the results you like. A few general guidelines, though:
- Set your camera to native ISO (usually 100) for minimum noise. There will be plenty of light!
- Pick an aperture with a decent depth of field to minimize missed focus. f/8 is great.
- Pre-focus the lens and leave on manual for the same reason.
- Try a variety of different shutter speeds. If your camera can bracket, so much the better.
- Lean toward under-exposing so that you don’t completely lose details.
- Capture RAW files so you have the maximum latitude in post-processing.
And remember that you should never look at the sun directly* or point your camera at the sun directly without proper safety gear such as solar glasses or a solar filter. ND filters should be rated for a minimum of 16 stops of light reduction to protect your camera.
*Except for the moment of totality in a total solar eclipse, but this is not one of those.
Pack the right gear
Here are a few recommendations for gear that will make the event more smooth for you. You are also more than welcome to stop in to any of our locations and pick the brains of our imaging experts!