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The next solar eclipse is on April 8th – here's how to photograph it

Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

On April 8, a thin strip of North America, Canada, Mexico will be on the way 2024 total solar eclipse, and you probably won't want to use your iPhone to capture it. Here's how you can take some photos from the event without ruining your equipment.

As the 2024 solar eclipse approaches, you may be interested in capturing this rare astronomical event through photography. An eclipse provides a unique opportunity to see how the Moon briefly covers the Sun — and if you are on the path of totality, it is even more amazing.

If you love astronomy, solar eclipse photography is the perfect way to remember such a rare event. All you need are a few tools at your disposal and a little practice.

However, we are going to lead in this. You can use your iPhone with some additional devices, but you probably don't want to.

Safety first — no, seriously.

The first thing you need to do before you even think about getting into sunlight photography is get yourself a set of ISO 12312-2 certified sunglasses. This is optional.

Viewers wear protective gear to watch the eclipse safely | Photo: NASA/Josh Cron

According to the National Institutes of Health, looking at the sun without eye protection can lead to solar retinopathy, which burns the retina and can even scar it. Although this is only a temporary solution — and it hurts a lot — In the experience of many, this can lead to irreversible vision loss.

Luckily, you can find plenty of certified safe sunglasses online, so you should definitely invest in a pair — or several!

Solar Photography with a Traditional Digital Camera

As tempting as it may be to take your favorite camera and point it directly at the sun, we advise you not to do this. Cameras are made up of many sensitive sensors, many of which can be easily damaged or destroyed by the sun.

Luckily, solar filters are available for your camera. Which filter you need will depend on your camera lens, so we suggest doing a little research.

If you have the right filter, try going outside a few sunny days before the eclipse and start practicing your skills.

NASA recommends that DSLR photographers start with a fixed aperture of f/8 to f/16 and try shutter speeds of 1/1000 to 1/4 second to see what works best for your camera. cameras.

Photo: NASA/Rami Daoud, Alcyon Technical Services

As soon as integrity reaches — if you are lucky enough to be on the way — you can remove the filter and shoot without it. Totality only lasts a few minutes, so you need to be prepared. Once it's finished, your solar filter will turn back on.

Solar photography using iPhone

If your goal — to take some award-winning eclipse photos on your iPhone, you might want to temper your expectations. If you've ever tried to photograph the Moon and been disappointed by a tiny white speck on the screen, you already know what's likely to happen when you photograph the Sun.

That doesn't mean you should give up on your dream of capturing the April 8 eclipse. As NASA notes, there are several routes you can take.

As with many things, it all depends on how much time and money you are willing to invest.

The first option is to focus less on the sun and more on everyday activities. NASA suggests mounting your phone on a tripod and taking time-lapse footage of the eclipse. This is a great way to capture the otherworldly feel of an eclipse without any extra extras.

Shadows also do something interesting during an eclipse, and capturing them can result in some great photos.

Of course, there is a chance that you will want to photograph the sun directly. If yes, then you will need to pick up three items.

The first is an attachment with a zoom lens ranging from 12x to 18x — they are commonly sold as lenses that birders use for wildlife photography. A digital zoom won't help with sun photography, so this purchase is optional.

If you're looking for a lens to get started, Apexel offers an 18x 4-in-1 Telephoto Lens Kit that includes a pair of extra lenses and a tripod for $30.99.

If you want to go even further with the zoom, Apexel offers a 20-40x telephoto lens kit that includes a tripod and a universal phone mount, and can be purchased for $45.99.

The second item you will need is a solar filter for your lens. Not every iPhone zoom lens has interchangeable filters, but some do. If you don't have one, you can buy a filter that you just hold in front of your lens and it will work in a pinch.

Image credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

The last item is a tripod. When working at this magnification, any bump or jolt will ruin what could be a great photo. We suggest purchasing a tripod that allows you to make enough fine adjustments so that you can capture the perfect shot without much hassle.

Once you have these items, it's time to practice. We suggest practicing solar and lunar photography a few days before the eclipse, as you will only have a few minutes to take the photo.

When photographing a solar eclipse, you can certainly use the built-in Apple Camera app. However, we offer something more like Halide, which gives you easier access to the settings you'll need to tweak to get the perfect shot.

General tips for photographing in the sun

Practice makes perfect to perfection ! Don't wait until the day of the eclipse to start honing your new skills. It's always a good idea to practice using the equipment, settings, and applications you plan to use that day.

Don't limit yourself to just photographing the sun. Some of the brightest solar photos you'll see after an eclipse don't even center the eclipse itself. Otherworldly shadows and awestruck spectators make fantastic photographic subjects.

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