08-07-2017 11:44 PM
I don't have any experience shooting a TSE, but I've been practicing in anticipation of this month's eclipse.
Here are a couple of sites that offer great advice:
- Canon Digital Learning has a whole section on the eclipse that's really useful. Here's the specific page on camera settings: http://learn.usa.canon.com/resources/articles/2017/solar-eclipse/photographic-exposure-solar-eclipse...
But be sure to look at all the pages -- very useful.
- Mr. Eclipse (Fred Espenak) is one of the most widely recognized authorities on solar eclipses. His site, mreclipse.com, is a fount of useful information. Here's a link to his "how to photograph" page: http://www.mreclipse.com/SEphoto/SEphoto.html. It includes a table with specific camera settings. Be sure to read his whole site, though.
Here's what I've been doing ...
- Practicing photographing the sun on my driveway around midday. This really helps with several factors, the most perplexing of which is actually finding the sun in your viewfinder. Once you put the filter on, it's close to impossible to locate the sun. Here's what you need to do:
- Affix solar filter to your lens
- Mount camera on your tripod, point it in the general direction of the sun, and tilt it almost straight up (about 80 degrees)
- Look at the shadow of your camera on the ground. You want to adjust the position of the camera on the tripod so that the shadow of the lens disappears entirely into the shadow of the camera body. That will tell you that the lens is aligned in a straight line between the camera and the sun.
- At this point, the viewfinder will be pointed straight down, making it tricky to look through it (optical viewfinder) or at it (liveview). This is all exacerbated by the fact that when you do try to look (up) at it, you are staring in the direction of the sun. So you have several options:
- Method 1: Sit on the ground, and look up through the viewfinder to see if you can find the sun's disk. Or try to find the sun's disk in the LiveView.
- If you choose this method, you should get a stool or small chair to sit on; it'll be easier
- Big tip here: take a towel -- bath towel size - and drape it around your camera. Secure it with a clothespin, so you're encased in a curtain surrounding your camera -- like an old-fashioned camera hood. Once you do this, you can reasonably comfortably look up into either the viewfinder or LiveView screen.
- You will still have to reach your arms up to adjust your ballhead to find the sun disk, but this method works
- I recommend turning on the 3x3 grid view on the LiveView screen to help you center the disk on the screen
- Method 2: This one is kind of my favorite, but it does require some getting used to.
- Download the Canon Camera Connect app to your iPhone
- Connect your iPhone / Camera Connect to your 5D IV following the WiFi connect menus on the camera (the instructions are reasonably straightforward)
- Turn on LiveView mode in the Canon Camera Connect app on your phone
- Place the phone on the ground (in the shadow of the camera) or in the apron of your tripod.
- You may now look DOWN onto your phone instead of UP into the sun to see what's in the viewfinder. In order for you to see your phone's screen, you have to shield the screen from the sun, hence placing it in a shadow.
- While looking down at your phone, adjust the position of your camera on the tripod ballhead until the sun disk appears on the phone's LiveView screen. Tighten the ballhead constraints so you can make small movements to get the disk centered in the 3x3 grid.
- When starting your practice, you'll find it easier to do the alignment with a shorter focal length. The disk will be smaller, but you'll have a better shot at finding it. Once you get better at locating it, you can extend your lens to full length.
- Your phone may time out a few times while you're adjusting. You can either disable time-out, or you'll have to keep tapping the phone to wake it up.
- Method 3: Use an angle viewfinder. I have Canon's Angle Finder C. I don't love this method, but I'm getting used to it. I'll probably go with Method 2 on Eclipse Day.
- Method 4: Connect your phone to your laptop, and choose Remote Shooting in the EOS Utility. This will bring up a LiveView screen on your laptop, which you can use -- much like your iPhone -- to find the sun. Come to think of it, I may use this method on Eclipse Day.
Big Caveat: If you use the Canon Camera Connect app, AFTER you've found the sun, you MUST disable WiFi (and thereby disconnect your phone). The built-in interval timer will not work with either WiFi or LiveView enabled.
Now that you've found the sun, you either have to have your camera mounted on an equatorial mount (which you would have done prior to locating the sun), or continually adjust the placement of your camera as the eclipse progresses. I'm putting my 5D on a Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer mount so I don't have to keep repositioning it.
By now, you should already have your solar filters. Apart from the brand you choose, there are a couple of different varieties: white light, and film. The choice of filter will affect the color of the sun disk (either white or yellow/orange). The color is a matter of personal choice.
You should download the Solar Eclipse Timer app from Gordon Telepun. It's truly amazing, and also has a pre-eclipse simulation mode so you can practice prior to Eclipse Day. It will give you actual voice prompts (with countdown timers) telling you when to remove your filters (and glasses), and when to replace them.
I'm setting up C-1 for the partial phases, and C-2 for totality. I'll be doing 7-exposure brackets for totality. In addition to my 5D, I'll have a 1Dx with a 500mm F/4 on a separate mount. I'll have the intervalometer set on the 5D to automatically bracket roughly every 5 seconds (I haven't yet done the math), and I'll be manually squeezing a remote switch on the 1Dx -- essentially a dead-man's switch -- to take advantage of the 14 fps on that camera to get as many brackets as possible during totality.
Right now, I'm hoping to be in the Nashville area, but will be making a go/no-go decision based on weather a couple of days in advance. I'm praying for good weather in Tennessee, because other destinations are a lot less convenient to get to.
08-08-2017 01:34 PM - edited 08-08-2017 01:46 PM
Thanks again, BostonShooter. Great info! While I do have experience with solar imaging (Hydrogen-alpha, CaK, and white light), this will be my first total solar eclipse. I did attempt to image an annular eclipse in 2012 with Hydrogen-alpha but was not pleased with the final results. I vowed to simplify the next time and enjoy the eclipse. This time, I decided to stick with whitle light through my new DSLR. I have read the Canon Digital Learning site as well as Fred Espenak's site. I actually met him at an eclipse convention in Cloudcroft NM in 2014 - real nice guy.
With your helpful suggestion, I am now set to do bracketed exposures of the eclipse from Madras, Oregon. I would love to use Live View and may still yet but I have found it awkward to position myself under the camera and view the image while pointing at the sun. I love this camera so far but miss the articulating LCD panel (previous camera was a 70D). I have used the Canon Connect app but the WiFi component adds more steps to my procedures. In my practice sessions, I have been using a solar finder which attached to the camera's hot shoe (http://www.scopestuff.com/ss_solf.htm). It is easy to locate and center the sun with this device. Once I have it in the center, it is a good reference for keeping the target on track if I need it. For keeping it centered, I am using an iOptron SkyTracker mount to track the sun and it has worked very well in practice sessions. I have kept the sun in the center of FOV for over 3 hours. I have two filter options: Orion glass filter and 1000 Oaks Soarlite filter. Both work well but I plan to use the 1000 Oaks as my primary and the Orion filter as backup.
I also have the Canon Angle Finder C. I think this is going to work for me. I am able to get a good focus (using the 2.5x) as evidenced by good resolution of a medium-sized sun spot that has been crossing the sun this past week. I will be located in a field somewhere just north of Madras (on the centerline) and I will not have power so I have to bring my own. For that reason, I have decided not to use my laptop even though the EOS Utility or BackyardEOS would greatly simplify the centering and focusing processes. Also, as I said, I amd relatively pleased with the Canon Angle Finder and the solar finder so far in practice sessions.
I will be probably using all three Custom modes but primarily relying on C1 and C2. I do not want to bother with changing the brackets in the camera mid-stream so I will do everything with 7-exposure brackets. For the partial phases, I will just tighten my exposures (1/3 stop apart).
I do most of my astronomy (solar and dark sky) in New Mexico. Take a look at my website to get an idea - www.redshift48.com. Good luck in Nashville. I will have people and smoke to contend with in Oregon, I'm afraid.
06-09-2019 11:28 PM
regarding bracketing, the canon article at
talks about AEB with two-stop intervals
If your camera’s AEB will allow you to bracket seven frames, in RAW, bracket in two-stop intervals with your slowest speed at about 1/2 second at ISO 400. If you pre-set your Manual exposure to 1/125th of a second to start with, and then apply AEB with two-stop exposure variance, a 7-frame bracketed sequence should deliver shutter speeds of 1/2 sec., 1/8 sec., 1/30 sec., 1/125 sec., 1/500 sec., 1/2,000 sec. and 1/8,000 sec.
The Mk IV allows 1/2 or 1/3 stop intervals - how do I set 2-stop intervals? which camera does this in AEB?
06-15-2019 10:34 PM
OK, OK, OK. I've been learning the camera settings and I guess I was confused by the wording in the article.
for those of you as dumb as me, 1/3 or 1/2 are the 2 choices for minimum interval between stops when using AEB.
To set intervals at 2 stops, press Q to activate the quick control screen, touch the exposure meter symbol, and scroll the main control dial until you see the ticks 2 stops apart.