Total solar eclipse 2002 December 4

in South Australia

Eclipse Photography and Videotaping

If you have come directly to this page from another website; you can find my other eclipse information here.

WARNING : eclipse photography and/or videotaping can be dangerous! If you are in any doubt about the hints and methods described on this page then DON'T attempt any eclipse photography.

IF YOU PLAN TO AIM YOUR CAMERA AT THE SUN, THEN YOUR CAMERA (and any viewfinder) MUST BE PROTECTED WITH A SOLAR FILTER WHENEVER ANY PART OF THE SUN'S DISC IS VISIBLE. THE SOLAR FILTER MUST BE PLACED SO THAT SUNLIGHT PASSES THROUGH IT FIRST, BEFORE IT ENTERS ANY PART OF THE CAMERA.

THE FILTER MUST BE ONE THAT IS DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR SOLAR VIEWING. Polarisers, Neutral Density filters and other coloured or tinted camera filters are all UNSAFE for eclipse photography - because they do not reduce the ultraviolet and infrared radiation coming from the sun! Homemade "filters" made from wine cooler bags, space blankets, CD-ROMs, food wrappers, ordinary sunglasses, floppy discs, cellophane, coloured plastic sheets, plastic lids, or similar commonplace items are all UNSAFE.

The filter may be removed for direct photography if the sun is TOTALLY eclipsed. This can only occur if you are INSIDE the path of totality at the appropriate time...and beware of the sun's reappearance. If ANY part of the sun's disc is VISIBLE - no matter how small - then a solar filter MUST BE USED.

FAILURE TO HEED THIS WARNING MAY RESULT IN THE DESTRUCTION OF YOUR CAMERA; PLUS PERMANENT AND IRREPARABLE EYE DAMAGE TO YOU!


Frankly, if this is your first eclipse then don't waste your time trying to photograph totality. Australian eclipse watchers have, at most, 33 seconds to witness that incredible sight....and no single photograph can capture the intricate detail and subtle colours seen by the human eye during totality. Even veteran eclipse chasers can be utterly entranced by the sight of totality -- which is why many of them use fully automated gadgets and procedures to record the event for them. This allows them to enjoy totality without fussing about with a camera at the same time.

If you're still determined to try anyway; here's a few hints:

Note also that even the veteran eclipse photographers regard this eclipse as especially difficult, because of the short duration of totality, and its low altitude. Ask yourself: Do you really want to waste your 33 seconds (or less) doing all this as a first-timer?

More detailed instructions and exposure times are available here and here.

You can also try searching Google for "solar eclipse photography".



Copyright © 2002   Fraser Farrell. All rights reserved.