Photographing the Solar Eclipse in New Orleans / by Zack Smith

For viewing and photographing the Solar Eclipse in New Orleans, you'll need some special gear!

For viewing and photographing the Solar Eclipse in New Orleans, you'll need some special gear!

Just imagine all of the wonderful photographs that will be taken during this solar eclipse, the first in 99 years that can be seen in some capacity from coast to coast. I think we as a New Orleans photography community need to step up and represent how our images are made and show em how we do it! That's why I am organizing a Solar Eclipse Photo Meet Up where we can view and photograph the solar eclipse together! In this post we'll talk about the gear needed and how we can SAFELY view and document the eclipse.

11:30 Lafayette Square, New Orleans is where I will be!

From noon to 3pm on Monday, August 21st you will be able to view the solar eclipse in New Orleans. While we won't be able to view a 100% totality event we will be able to see %75-%80 of a solar eclipse, which is pretty damn cool. There are safe ways to view and photograph the solar eclipse in New Orleans and I hope to help you also figure out creative ways to document this event is well. It is great if you can capture such a wonderful event on record, but doing it with creativity and style is where we want to be. Please read this post fully and share, but MEETUP with me at Lafayette Square at 11:30 on Monday, August 21st to shoot and view. Follow the links to buy your own gear but i'll have a few glasses for you.

 

Where will sun will be at noon in New Orleans?

The best app I have for this is The Photographers Ephemerus and SUN CALC (see here) and can be downloaded for iphone and android. This app helps me figure out the best spot to be in during special moon events like the supermoon, and now the solar eclipse. Here is a screenshot from 12pm on Monday, August 21st in New Orleans from both apps.

solar-eclipse-new-orleans

Photographing the Solar Eclipse needs to be done with special equipment.  Lens filters are always required to view and photograph the eclipse. We need to protect our own eyes too!.Telescopes, binoculars, and cameras need solar filters for two reasons: to protect them from intense sunlight and to ensure that you don't accidentally look at the Sun through an unfiltered instrument.

Our challenge is to obtain a set of photographs that captures these fleeting phenomena. During the total phase, all solar filters must be removed. This is because the sun’s corona has a surface brightness a million times fainter than the sun’s visible disk or photosphere, so photographs of the corona must be made without a filter. Furthermore, it is completely safe to view the totally eclipsed sun directly with the naked eye. No filters are needed, and in fact, they would completely hide the view. (SOURCE:  NIKONUSA)

Never look at the sun without  approved solar filtration over your eyes. Permanent, irreversible eye damage and/or blindness can result in seconds. Never point your camera into the sun without an approved solar filter over your camera lens(es). Not using a solar filter at eclipse magnifications will ruin your camera in seconds. Never improvise, modify or use general photography neutral density filters. When it comes to solar filters, you have several options: filter sheet, screw-on front filter, or a solar filter that mounts between the camera and lens on an interchangeable-lens setup.

GLASSES - LINK HERE, and HERE at BH Photo

SOLAR FILTERS for PHOTOGRAPHY - BH PHOTO

(Source - Great article from B&H - https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/tips-and-solutions/how-photograph-solar-eclipse )

The best strategy is to choose one aperture and bracket the exposures over a range of shutter speeds from 1/1000 second to 1 second. You should rehearse the actions of setting up the camera and adjusting exposures because it is common for photographers to become easily distracted when viewing this phase of the solar eclipse, so much so that you forget to make pictures.

Use live view or an electronic viewfinder for the “what you see is what you get” advantage. It is also safer for your eyes to NOT be looking through an optical finder if you ignored my advice about securely mounting a filter.

Check out Mr. Eclipse's Solar Exposure Guide here - this looks really confusing but the more you read it, makes total sense. You are going to be constantly opening either your shutter speed, aperture, or ND filter as the sun reaches totality (thus decreasing in intensity) but then stopping down again as it moves out of totality (having to put our glasses on again)

This map shows the path of Totality of the Solar Eclipse (SOURCE: www.timeanddate.com)

This map shows the path of Totality of the Solar Eclipse (SOURCE: www.timeanddate.com)

Solar eclipses may be viewed and photographed but you need to take safety into account. You can photograph a solar eclipse with any type of camera, but the longer the focal length of the lens (at least 300mm) the larger the images of the sun you’ll be able to make. Purchasing an Extender for your telephoto is key, but 300mm should be a good start. If you can get 400mm, or even 600mm you will be getting closer!.

One great way to tell the story is to get wide, and silhouette the crowd, silhouette buildings that tell a more creative story of an eclipse. Why shoot real close to the sun when you can make it more interesting with the world around you?