The solar eclipse that cut across the USA on August 21,
To view a solar eclipse, one first needs solar sunglasses with an ISO icon with reference 12312-2 to avoid retinal burns and visual disturbances. My husband had purchased these.
A camera requires a solar filter or one made of
short darkness of totality. A shutter release cable or remote is recommended, as is a tripod.
Since the eclipse was straight overhead, I abandoned the tripod because it couldn’t be set in the right position. I lay on a blanket on the grass and had the camera in my arms or on my chest while focusing and pressing the shutter release cord.
I obtained most of my technical information through research, specifically from articles and blogs by famous eclipse photographers: Fred Espenak, a retired NASA astrophysicist and photographer known as Mr. Eclipse (whose photo is on the USA Eclipse Stamp); Astrophotographers Jean-Marc Lecleire and Czech Miloslav Druckmuller who were pioneers in initially doing most of the experimentation and work to figure out what camera settings to use. My favorite article was “How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse” by Nasim Mansurov in “Photography Life”.
I googled how to photograph a solar eclipse. I explored the Nikon and Canon websites. By the time I thought of photographing the solar eclipse, a glass solar filter was impossible to purchase since they were all on backorder. I managed to secure two orders of
A brilliant marketing scheme at the Canon site included articles about photographing solar eclipses, explanations of what type of equipment was helpful along with convenient shopping links, and the introduction of the sale of Eclipse Packages.
The articles touted the Canon SX60 HS as the camera with the longest zoom for a point-and-shoot camera, with its 65x optical zoom (21mm–1365mm) wide angle lens with image stabilization and 16.1 Megapixels. The eclipse package included a basic camera and glass solar filter. The Canon SX60 HS was the cheapest of all the options. I think it was well worth the $500.
I set my camera on manual, disabled automatic flash, and put the camera on LIVE view, so I could focus on the occurring solar eclipse (convergence of moon and sun movements) by looking at the LED screen, and not the viewfinder. ISO should be the lowest for the camera. I used 100.
I did a manual focus and kept my lens f spot at around f/8- f/4 and varied the shutter speed in case one speed was better than another or would render a different effect. The eclipse was pretty
I couldn’t focus and thought my camera was dying, burned out or the battery needed a break. At that time, I grabbed my old Canon SX20, which I planned to film a video in totality with, and also took snapshots and video with my Galaxy 8P cell phone.
I went back to the primary Canon SX60 HS with the glass solar filter and went more wide angle, not as zoomed and shot photos, some of which I knew were blurry but I crossed my fingers and kept shooting until the sun slid from behind the moon.
Then I put the solar filters back on the cameras and the focusing and photos were easy again. I continued to photograph the progression of the eclipse until clouds filled the sky. My husband used my Nikon 3200. The telephoto lens wasn’t cooperating so we used the original lens.
We were excited and pleased with our photographic souvenirs and had a toast in celebration.
Here’s a link to my journey and the pleasantly surprising photos taken with the Canon SX60 HS:
Link to Video Taken with Canon SX20 (interesting that
Fred Espenak’s Solar Eclipse Exposure Reference Guide:
NASA Eclipse Website:
Solar Eclipse Basics:
Fred Espenak's Website:
Set Up Canon SX60 HS:
How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse by Nasim Mansurov:
Lina Sophia Rossi is a member of the Horror Writer's Association. Her poems appear in HWA Poetry Showcase Volume 3 and Volume 4. She is working on her MFA. She was a photojournalist and editor of her high school newspaper and beyond. Her work in Italian appeared in SUNY Stony Brook's Italian Literary magazine, "Voci". She has a BS in Biological