| How to Photograph the 2024 Solar Eclipse With Your SmartphoneFrequent Business Traveler

April 4, 2024 | by magnews24.com

Practice taking moon shots before the big event on Monday.

On this coming Monday, April 8, millions of people across North America will point their smartphones towards the sky and try to capture the total eclipse of the sun.

It will be visible in Mexico, from Texas to Maine, and into parts of Canada and will last for just over four minutes in some places along the 115-mile (185-kilometer) wide swath.

Some fifteen U.S. states will be in its path, although two of them – Michigan and Tennessee – will only get a small piece of the action.

Most of the photographs taken with smartphones such as the Apple iPhone won’t look terribly good but if you follow our guidance – which was informed by experts at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and by the father of FBT Editorial Director Jonathan Spira, S.F. Spira, the late founder and former CEO of Spiratone, not only the largest supplier of photographic accessories in the United States when every home had a piano and a darkroom but also the developer of a special lens filter for the last major solar eclipse in the country, this in 1979.  That filter was based on clear optical glass onto which metal particles were sprayed in sufficient quantity.

Before anything, it’s important to practice and also to get solar film such as Baader AstroSolar, a film designed for camera lenses and telescopes, and perhaps an inexpensive telephoto lens specifically for your smartphone or a monocular with a smartphone attachment.  A tripod or, worst case, a monopod, is advisable

Practice makes perfect so begin by taking photographs of the moon and – if the timing is right – a full moon – so you can envisage how a total solar eclipse will appear in your viewfinder.  Moon photography is not as straight forward as simply point-and-shoot as the phone’s camera will try to automatically adjust the exposure but most of the view will be the dark sky, so the moon’s disk will be overexposed and show no details. To get around this, use both the focus and exposure adjustments to ensure that the moon is not overexposed and is in focus.

On the Apple iPhone, you can manually by tapping the screen and holding your finger on the moon to lock the focus.  Be sure to center the focus spot on the edge of the moon, which will be a sharp edge for the camera to auto-focus on.

Tapping an object in the viewfinder such as the Moon will center a box around it and show a little sun icon. This is the exposure slider. Adjust this until you see details on the moon image by metering the corona and note that you may have to move the meter spot around to get the best exposure possible.

Don’t only focus on taking a gadzillion photos of the eclipse.  Take photographs of what people around you are doing, perhaps a time-lapse photo series of the scenery as the light dims with the smartphone secured on a tripod or other mounting.

Whatever you do, don’t use digital zoom to shoot the eclipse.  Digital zoom will not create a clear, magnified image of the sun (or of the moon, or any other distant object, for that matter).

In addition, never use photographic neutral density filters for direct solar viewing, viewing the sun through an optic, or when using cameras with an optical viewfinder.

It may be a bit too late but if you can still purchase a zoom lens designed specifically for your smartphone that will allow you to capture details in the the shape of the corona.  A trick you should try is to use the wide-angle zoom setting and capture see the bright corona surrounding a black spot in the sky, as well as the surrounding = landscape and local scenery.

Finally, make sure to have appropriate eclipse glasses for the event. Don’t blindly trust companies that are selling solar eclipse glasses: The safety of your eyes is at stake. Authentic and safe pairs of solar eclipse glasses should be labeled “ISO 12312-2” and have an authentic ISO certification label.  Take a moment to take it all in, without using your smartphone camera. Just you and a once-in-a-lifetime event in the solar system. And what could be better than that?

(Photo: Accura Media Group)


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