The Understand Photography Show: Episode 47 - Photographing the Solar Eclipse with LeMoyne Johnson

Peggy Farren 2017-08-04

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Show Notes for Episode #47: Photographing the Solar Eclipse with LeMoyne Johnson

Episode 47 LeMoyne Johnson - Photographing the Solar Eclipse

About LeMoyne

- surgeon/physician that got tired of the red tape
- loves to travel
- wanted to do nature and wildlife photography, ended up doing portrait photography
- designed and opened studio in 1999 - Johnson’s PhotoImaging in Bradenton, FL
- portrait studio, camera store (the only one on west coast of FL), photo lab, and classroom
- totally digital
- photo shoots and classes on movie set of “Dry Creek” in Manatee county

About the Eclipse
- This is a Total Eclipse - the sun will be completely covered by the moon, within a certain area that stretches across the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina.
- The closer you are to the center of this line, the longer time you have for totality.
- In areas north or south of this swath, there will still be an eclipse, but it won’t be total. In Naples, FL the sun will be 80% covered and the eclipse will occur around 2:45 pm.
- The next total eclipse to fall across the U.S. won’t be until 2099.
- There are several eclipses per year, you just need to be in the right place to view them, although most of them happen over the ocean.
- This eclipse has the moon at the PERFECT distance from the Earth and sun so that is covers completely, creating something called Bailey’s Beads - small reddish spots along the edge of the corona that are actually the extreme edge of mountains and craters on the moon with sunlight glaring through them. These will not be seen through your camera lens, they will only be visible after processing.
- The sun flares that occur at the very edges of either side of totality create an effect called a “Diamond Ring” which may last from 3-5 seconds.

Where LeMoyne Will Be Set Up
- Elbion, NE - population 8,000 is expecting 100,000 people to come to town for the eclipse - they are right on the center line. Time of totality here will be 10 seconds.
- Why Nebraska? 5,000 ft above sea level (high desert plains) means low humidity (about 10%) with a likelihood of cloud cover being only 13%.

Tips for Photographing the Eclipse
- be ready about 2 hours early
- make sure cards are formatted, batteries charged, etc.
- bring a lawn chair to sit in - it will be easier on your neck
- PRACTICE - this is a once in a lifetime event that lasts for only 2 1/2 minutes, you don’t want to be fumbling with filters and lenses and settings in that time, you’ll miss it!
- don’t be discouraged if there are clouds - if you can see a shadow, there’s enough sunlight coming through and you will get SOMETHING
it only takes 5 seconds to damage your retinas
(Solar Eclipse Glasses)
- PLEASE, buy your filter at a reputable place, knock-offs can be dangerous to your eyes and equipment
- without a solar filter on your camera, you could burn a hole in your shutter and damage your camera’s sensors
- unfortunately, most places that supply solar filters have been sold out for weeks already
- you may be able to get a 5”x5” sheet to tape over your lens from an astronomy supplier (Thousand Oaks Optical)
- another option may be welder’s glass *must be rated at 17
- the ‘Live View’ on your camera can be viewed without eye protection, (this is easier if your Live View rotates to a different angle) but you cannot look through the viewfinder without it

Equipment and Settings for Photographing the Eclipse
-Right Angle Viewer - clips onto the back of your camera and allows you to look comfortably straight forward while your camera lens is pointed straight up
- Magnifying Viewfinder - can help focus on the sun if held on top of your Live View screen
- Manually move the focus to the infinity setting and back it off a hair or two, it WILL make a difference!
- The experts at Canon recommend you lightly tape the focus into place to avoid accidentally bumping it out of focus.
- Turn OFF mirror-lock and noise reduction, they will slow down the processing time of your camera and limit the number of shots you can take in the critical 2 1/2 minutes of totality.
- Use a shutter release cable to reduce camera shake.
- Set up your tripod and first FIND the sun and center it - go to the wider angle, start at 100-400 or 100-200 and then zoom out
- You want the disk of the sun to take up about 20% of your camera’s field of view, the exciting stuff happens outside the main disk.

Exposures (Starting Points)
- Point and Shoot cameras- set to auto-white balance and aperture priority
- SLR’s - most for Diamond Ring: 1/2000 sec at F8 and ISO 100
in totality - for Corona: 1/100 sec at F5/6 to F8 and ISO 100
- “Bracket like crazy” 2 F-stops apart, 1/4 sec to 1/1000 sec
- Do NOT want to shoot at MAX, too much noise (and your noise reduction should be turned OFF)

Good luck, and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime eclipse!

LeMoyne Johnson at Johnson PhotoImaging
facebook or facebook store
Book - Road Atlas for the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017
Canon site for Eclipse -exposures
Canon site for Eclipse - totality

See you next week for episode 48!

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