This october is quite a fest for astronomers having both a FULL lunar eclipse tomorrow (Oct. 8th) and a partial solar eclipse on the 23rd.
While the two events are somewhat different in nature, there are some similarities in preparing for both. We asked photographers Josh Bury and Alan Erickson what should we be aware of before going ahead and shooting any of those eclipses?
Like most things in life, the secret is with preparation and Josh and Alan were kind enough to prepare a list for us:
When shooting a solar eclipse, always remember to protect your eyes and camera. Use a strong neutral density or solar filter for your lens. Use the shadow of the lens to line up the sun, then fine tune using the live view on your camera’s screen.
“Solar eclipses also offer other interesting photographic opportunities. For example, the leaves of trees will often cast images of the eclipse on the ground beneath them. The dense leaves of the tree create hundreds of pinholes for the sunlight to shine through and project onto the ground.”
Test exposures beforehand, and experiment with different exposure lengths while shooting. Take test shots to find the exposure time you want. Also check f-ratio ISO and focus.
Avoid camera shake by using a tripod and remote shutter release.
Set f-ratio as high as possible, and set ISO fairly low. The high f-ratio will limit the amount of light causing over exposure. F/5 is safe for most any lens, while higher quality lenses can use lower f-ratios.
In general, shooting lunar eclipses is very similar to shooting the moon. The main difference is that the fully-eclipsed moon is much dimmer than a regular full moon so you’ll have to use longer exposures.
Take test shots. Auto-focus on the sun or moon, then switch to manual focus while shooting so the camera doesn’t try to refocus while shooting.