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EOS R Tips for Upcoming Total Solar Eclipse

RRohio
Apprentice

I have an EOS R - I know antiquated already.  I am an amateur photographer - very much so.  Any advice on taking pictures of the April 8th 2024 solar eclipse.  I will be totality.  I have a filter that I will use before and after totality.  I'm most interested in focusing tips.  Today's trial run wasn't the greatest.  I don't want to fuss too much during the event - I want to enjoy is as it may be my only total eclipse.  Know what I mean?  So easy is better.  I'm not looking to publish photos - just want a few for the memory.  Thanks for your help. 

4 REPLIES 4

AtticusLake
Mentor
Mentor

Good for you for doing trial runs ahead of time.  Still, the clock is ticking.  Some software you might want can't even be downloaded close to the eclipse.

I'm not going to be there, but Nico Carver (Nebula Photos on YouTube) has done a whole series of videos on this, which you might find helpful.  Here's the playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEL1m91odvY&list=PLrzbdmripj1fiZT1_XvxASYDQmEUH_J_a

jrhoffman75
Legend
Legend

Total Solar Eclipse Photography: Get the Most Out of Your Experience! | B&H eXplora (bhphotovideo.co...

 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic

kvbarkley
VIP
VIP

You can't get more contrast than the edge of the sun and the sky, so focusing should be easy. What focusing mode are you in?

What is the focal length (mm) of your lens?

Do you have a steady tripod?

TCampbell
Elite
Elite

Do not use auto-exposure or auto-focus for the eclipse.  Manually focus the lens (you can use your solar filter to do that) and leave it (some people will tape the focus ring to make sure it isn’t bumped during the eclipse).

Getting the full solar corona will require about 12-13 stops of bracketed exposures.  Those would be merged via HDR combination.  If you want to capture “earthshine” on the Moon (see features of the dark side of the Moon) then you have to over-expose by 14 stops.

The Sun will move by about 1° during the roughly 4 minutes of totality (if you are on or near the centerline).  The Sun/Moon has an angular width of about 1/2° from edge to edge.  This means it will move roughly 2x its diameter.  

I use a tracking mount … my camera will “track” the Sun and Moon during the eclipse and keep it centered.  But if you do not have a tracking mount, you want the Sun to start a little left of the center of your frame and move a little right to the center of your frame.  Depending on where you live it *might* appear to move down and to the right (it will move to the right … how much it moves “down” depends on where you live.  It might not move “down” very much).  

IF you have a mac laptop, you can use “Capture Eclipse” (you can find it on the Mac App Store).  It’s free.  If you are windows I do not know of a solution that supports Canon EOS “R” camera bodies.  “Eclipse Orchestrator” runs on windows … and it does support Canon bodies, but I’m not sure if it supports “R” series bodies.   The capture software will create a script with recommended exposures.

If you do not have any software to automate the capture … I don’t recommend trying to do eclipse photography manually.  The exposures change rapidly … your head will be staring at the back of the camera body and you’ll miss all the fun.  I fully automate the capture … my computer runs the camera (I only have to take the filters off and on) and I get to enjoy the eclipse with everyone else.

It’s a good idea to own a USB connected GPS supported by the software.  This will help the software set the capture times so precisely that you’ll capture nice eclipse phenomena such as the Bailey’s Beads effect, the Diamond Ring effect, etc.  and then it will start the bracketed capture feature for the full extent of the Sun’s corona.

About 15 minutes before totality, check your batteries and memory card and swap them if needed.  Double-check framing and focus.  The entire duration will take about 3 hours.  Totality is around 4 minutes (a little longer to the south … and a little shorter in the north).

Take the solar filter off the camera about 20 seconds before totality but DO NOT LOOK THROUGH THE CAMERA once the filter is off.  It is ONLY safe to look at the Sun when the Moon completely blocks the Sun (during totality). After totality, … once the software captures the Bailey’s Beads and Diamond Ring after 3rd Contact, put the solar filter back on (within 20 seconds).  

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
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