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How to (not) shoot a solar eclipse

solar eclipse

I went searching and found a few pages describing how to shoot the sun during a solar eclipse. All warned against looking at the sun directly.

So, I ignored all that advice and got out my 75-300mm lens and grabbed a couple of shots of the sun with a chunk bitten out of it by the moon. Thankfully the clouds provided a bit of a filter but my eyes are still watering a bit. Worth it?

With hindsight, what the hell was I thinking? I’m lucky my eye is fine, but if you’re going to shoot a solar eclipse, don’t look through the viewfinder. Set your camera up on a tripod and project an image of the sun on a white sheet of cardboard and then press the shutter button. Much safer than actually looking..

Aperture ƒ/45
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 300mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/8000s

By Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Twitter.

17 replies on “How to (not) shoot a solar eclipse”

Eyes are ok now. I tried hard to shoot the sun at full power by watching when sunlight streamed into the eye piece, from the side. When cloud covered the sun it was easier as you can see above. The cloud did a great job of filtering the full glare.

Must clean this lens though. I had to remove lots of dust marks and there’s a hair visible in a few other shots.

nice shot – though i read one of those links on google search results and they all got me worried about my eyesight, and camera sensor. never would have thought of it damaging the sensor.

what settings did u use? tripod?

Phil – just pointed the camera in P mode. Tried to look through the viewfinder from the side. When the lens wouldn’t focus I tried manual focus but that didn’t work too well either because that meant I’d have to look through the viewfinder ..

Despite the beautiful photo, I’m going to say it wasn’t worth it – because I suspect that the final impact on your eyesight isn’t yet fully apparent.

“Set your camera up on a tripod and project an image of the sun on a white sheet of cardboard and then press the shutter button.”

Its funny how I wrote this in a comment but my comment never showed up and then you edited your post later on. Very funny indeed… hmmmm… 🙂

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