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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Astronomy & Celestial
Thread started 24 May 2017 (Wednesday) 12:59
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Full solar eclipse this August 21 - who's going, what you're bringing?

 
pulsar123
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Canada
May 24, 2017 12:59 |  #1

Weather permitting, I plan to visit the totality spot (in Missouri; ~13 hours driving for me from Ontario) this August. Will bring my family.

I plan to bring some minimum gear, hoping that I'll mostly be enjoying the experience, not getting busy with lens changes and such. So I'll probably only bring a regular tripod, Canon 50D with one lens (70-200 f4L), and an HD camcorder for my wife.

I've never witnessed a total eclipse, so have no experience photographing it. Just googling found this link:

How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse (external link)

The important point there is that one cannot take a single shot of the corona during the totality, because of its huge dynamic range. Looking at their table, it looks like my optimal setup will be 70mm @ f/4 (ISO 200), with exposures from 1/2000s to 1/2s to expose the corona parts from 0.1 to 8 of the solar radii away from the disk. I will try to setup a multiple exposure bracketing sequence using Magic Lantern, with the idea to do HDR in post processing.

I am not interested in the partial eclipse phase, so will not bother with ND filters.

Who else is going? What gear are you bringing? Any tips or tricks from seasoned eclipse photographers?


6D, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, 135L, 70-200 f4L, Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro, 50mm f1.8 STM, Samyang 8mm fisheye, home studio

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Celestron
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May 24, 2017 13:04 |  #2

I never been but your 70-200mm will be just fine unless you have the 1.4x then add that in also . But that lens will be just fine for the Corona . Good luck and look forward to seeing your images when you get back .




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sporadic
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May 24, 2017 13:43 |  #3

There's an ongoing thread over in the talk section that some good info in it - http://photography-on-the.net .../showthread.php?t=1​465977


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gjl711
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May 24, 2017 14:31 |  #4

From what I have heard, if your planing on staying anywhere in the area, start looking for a hotel now. Most if not all are already booked from quite some distance around the path. I'm lucky, it's about a 6 hour drive for us so I plan on making it a day trip. We'll head out very early in the morning to a site we'll choose dependent on weather, eclipse away, then head on back. It's a long day but around August in Missouri you never know when t-storms are going to ruin things.


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pdxbenedetti
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May 24, 2017 14:41 |  #5

Luckily the path of totality goes directly over my family cabin in central Idaho, so I'll be up there with some friends and family for the event. I'm going to setup one DSLR to do just a basic timelapse of the whole event, nothing fancy. The other setup will consist of my Astrotech AT65EDQ scope (420mm focal length, f6.3) and Nikon D7000 camera on a Sirius EQ-G mount. I have a regular film solar filter and will be doing a series of exposures over the course of the whole event. I've been practicing just imaging the sun with the setup, I'm going to have everything setup the night before. I'll run BackyardNikon and program the series of exposure speeds to cover the whole feature list. Luckily I'll have it all programmed and hopefully running smoothly so I'll only have to really worry about pulling the filter off during totality and putting it back on after, that way I can enjoy the eclipse as well. Getting excited, we're 3 months away now!


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pulsar123
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May 24, 2017 15:37 |  #6

gjl711 wrote in post #18362111 (external link)
From what I have heard, if your planing on staying anywhere in the area, start looking for a hotel now. Most if not all are already booked from quite some distance around the path. I'm lucky, it's about a 6 hour drive for us so I plan on making it a day trip. We'll head out very early in the morning to a site we'll choose dependent on weather, eclipse away, then head on back. It's a long day but around August in Missouri you never know when t-storms are going to ruin things.

Absolutely, I made sure to have booked a hotel in advance, the one which gave me a free cancellation option within 24 hours. It's in Columbia, Missouri. We also plan to visit relatives in Chicago on the way, so it will be a manageable two-day, 7.5 + 6 hours drive. If the weather doesn't look promising, we'll cancel the trip the last moment.


6D, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, 135L, 70-200 f4L, Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro, 50mm f1.8 STM, Samyang 8mm fisheye, home studio

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4huskers
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May 24, 2017 22:11 |  #7

We are going to be in Yellowstone and plan on heading toward Jackson for the eclipse. I'm mainly a bird, wildlife, and landscape photographer and don't plan on photographing the event as I have no experience in celestial photography. I'm interested in the proper glasses for my wife and I for viewing. Recommendations? Thanks


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SteveInNZ
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May 25, 2017 03:30 |  #8

We're coming from New Zealand for our 6th eclipse. We'll be viewing from above Teton Village and then spending a few days each in Grand Teton and Yellowstone. This is part of a bigger trip so I'm bringing telescopes, mount and a few cameras to capture some northern hemisphere objects while we're there.

4huskers, there will be lots of vendors and places selling eclipse glasses. It would be a good idea to buy some at least a week beforehand as they often run out. Try and avoid the ones with a silver foil look and get the black polymer ones. Both are safe but the silver reflects the surroundings and are less pleasant to look through.

There is no wrong focal length. Anything from 10-1000mm shows something of the eclipse experience. If you're going to try for the full eclipse photo plan, you must automate it. The only action you want to do is remove the filter and put it back on afterwards and maybe press a 'go' button. It's a very short two minutes and you don't want to be fiddling with a camera. Even if you're not interested in the partial phases, you want to have your camera aimed at the Sun just before totality so you don't waste precious time. The filter is the best way to do that.

Another option is to have a camera setup and prefocused on a distant object and the focus locked. Have it sitting on a chair, ready to go with mutishot bracketing. Pick it up, aim and machine-gun a few shots and put it back down.

Also don't forget to look around you. There are things that you may experience like the pre-eclipse breeze, shadow bands, the approaching and receding shadow, the sunset sky all around, daytime off in the distance and the people. People do some wierd stuff at eclipses.

Just remember that the experience is more important than the picture.

Steve.


"Treat every photon with respect" - David Malin.

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pulsar123
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May 25, 2017 08:04 as a reply to SteveInNZ's post |  #9

Thanks - great advice! I was thinking to use a remote object for pre-focussing, but you are right - I have to bring my 10 stops filter as well, just in case.

Initially I was actually thinking to only shoot this with a fisheye lens (Rokinon 8mm - very good quality lens for APS-C), so it'd be more of an environmental shot, with the eclipse and surrounding people shot together. But I have no clue how dark it'll get for the people's part, so probably shouldn't take the chance. (Though doing an extreme exposure bracketing can help.) I also have a decent telescope (6" Celestron with a robotic mount), but it'll be too much for me - with my three kids around. Plus I suspect I'll end up just being busy with the hardware, rather than enjoying the experience.


6D, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, 135L, 70-200 f4L, Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro, 50mm f1.8 STM, Samyang 8mm fisheye, home studio

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TCampbell
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Joined Apr 2012
May 25, 2017 12:46 |  #10

Fred Espinak (aka "Mr Eclipse") is possibly *the* expert in the world on eclipse photography. The data everyone is using for the eclipse... is actually his data (he did the prediction). He used to work for NASA (is now retired) but he still does their eclipse predictions.

I'm bringing three cameras, but I won't be controlling any of them... it's all being run by computer.

I'm using a program called Solar Eclipse Maestro -- only available for Mac. The Windows equivalent is a program called Eclipse Orchestrator. They both use the same scripting language. The Mac version is free for non-commercial use (the author appreciates donations). The Windows version runs in a restricted demo mode that you can use for testing, but realistically you need to buy it for it to be truly effective on the day of the eclipse (and its about $120).

I'm getting some reports that the developer of Eclipse Orchestrator hasn't updated it in years and some users are having issues with camera compatibility.

The author of the Mac software (Solar Eclipse Maestro) is very actively updating the software -- so that one seems to be fairly solid (I've done a lot of testing and while I've found a few issues, the author is very good at communicating with users, has been updating the software for newer cameras (tough to do since he doesn't own these cameras but he's written some code that is able to extract camera profile data that you can send to him and he can use it to make sure the software supports it.) So far the software is working great for me.

The software uses the eclipse prediction data from Mr. Espenak, as well as your GPS position fix data, to calculate the precise timings of each event down to the fraction of a second (it's impressive how accurate this software is). It then uses a scripting language which controls your cameras (up to 4) to trigger all exposures at the precise moments. The scripting language handles the problem of the extremely wide dynamic range needed to capture the corona.

It only controls the cameras, it does not download data from them (all data is written to the memory cards - not imported into the computer). It does this because with 4 cameras firing ... it would really slow things down if it had to download all the images via USB as they are shot.

The software has a wizard that will generate an initial shooting script (which you modify to your needs).

The script includes commands that play audible warnings to tell you when you should take the solar filter off your lenses (just prior to totality) ... and again when it's time to put the filters back on (just after totality).

Ideal focal length ranges should result in the sun being a minimum of 1/4 of the diameter of your sensor ... but not more than 1/2 the diameter of your sensor. The sun's angular diameter is almost exactly 1/2º from edge to edge... so any lens that can get you in the range of at least 2º vertical field of view size but no less than 1º field of view size would be perfect (with about 1.5º being ideal)

For an APS-C camera that's about a 400-800mm focal length range that will achieve that field of view.
For a full-frame camera it's around 625mm - 1250mm focal length range.

But you can use almost anything... with an APS-C sensor you'll probably want a minimum of 200mm focal length to be able to see corona detail during totality. With a full-frame camera you'll probably want a minimum of 300mm focal length.




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SteveInNZ
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Auckland, New Zealand
May 25, 2017 16:35 |  #11

Eclipse Orchestrator was updated last year, but you are right in that the author seems to have dropped off the radar. That means that it will only work with Pre-Digic 6 cameras. ie. The 70D I had last year works but the 80D I upgraded to, doesn't.
You don't 'need' the Pro version. The free version is fully functional for a single camera at eclipse day. What you get with the Pro version is a wizard to automatically generate scripts, some visualization tools and the ability to control more than one camera. I think it took about 20 minutes to manually create a script for a full sequence.
The other option for PC users is SETnC. Like Xavier for Eclipse Maestro, the author is very active and it has been updated to the latest SDK so current cameras work. He's even still supporting XP. It's free, the simplest to setup and works.
EclipseDroid will control a Canon camera from an Android phone but that is even further behind Eclipse Orchestrator in keeping up to date.

They all have little pros and cons.

Steve.


"Treat every photon with respect" - David Malin.

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sidg
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Boise, ID
May 25, 2017 20:30 |  #12

I'm going to Stanley, ID which is supposed to be right in the path. Actually going as a food vendor but will have my camera gear with me.
They are expecting 20,000 people there on the low end and as many as 40,000. This is from the Forest Service folks who have been talking to previous sites and are worried that they won't be able to handle the crowds.




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pdxbenedetti
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Salt Lake City, United States
May 30, 2017 17:59 |  #13

sidg wrote in post #18363116 (external link)
I'm going to Stanley, ID which is supposed to be right in the path. Actually going as a food vendor but will have my camera gear with me.
They are expecting 20,000 people there on the low end and as many as 40,000. This is from the Forest Service folks who have been talking to previous sites and are worried that they won't be able to handle the crowds.

God, that's insane, my cabin is 14 miles down river from Stanley, I was just up there this weekend. Guess I'll be avoiding that area like the plague, Redfish Lake has asked me to come up and give a short talk about eclipse viewing and imaging to its patrons Sunday morning, after that I'm going to avoid going up to Stanley as much as possible the rest of the week. They're also bringing in a UW astrophysicist to talk at the town's assembly hall, that should be interesting.

20,000-40,000 people in a town that has a population of 100 (not exaggerating), what a nightmare. Everyone (locals) I talked to in town this weekend sounded very excited though.


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pulsar123
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Aug 15, 2017 18:07 |  #14

The weather looks good for my location (Columbia MO), so I am finalizing my eclipse photography workflow. I just took this shot using 16-stop ND filter on my Canon 50D + 70-200 f4L (set at 200mm). Focusing was done using DSLR controller app on my smat phone, via USB cable:

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4345/36550194466_8d07556a11_o_d.jpg

This is just testing. I will only use the filter to do focusing, and will remove it during the totality, when I'll be making exposure bracketing shots.

6D, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, 135L, 70-200 f4L, Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro, 50mm f1.8 STM, Samyang 8mm fisheye, home studio

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Talley
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Aug 15, 2017 19:08 |  #15

I'm out but my buddy is taking his 7D2, 400 2.8 and 1.4x and will be an hour outside denver somewhere around there.


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Full solar eclipse this August 21 - who's going, what you're bringing?
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