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Just in case you haven’t heard, there’s going to be a total solar eclipse this week. Tomorrow, Monday, August 21st to be exact. This will be the first total solar eclipse in the continental United States in 38 years. While not everyone will be in the path of totality, everyone in the continental U.S. will see at least a partial eclipse. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m going to want some photos of this rare event. You know, a little something to post on Facebook with everyone else, and maybe some to save to look back on in the future. I mean you’ve got to admit, it’s not something that happens very often and it’s pretty darn cool. Heck, my teenager might even admit that it’s not completely sucky like everything else in life. How does one get amazing, or at least share-worthy shots of a solar eclipse though?
Safety Tips for Capturing the Total Solar Eclipse
Of course the main objective is to experience the eclipse safely, and without scorching your eyeballs out. I say that only semi-jokingly because there have been many warnings out. Have fun, but be careful while you’re snapping your amazing photos. Whether you are located in the eclipse’s path of totality or not, you can still get photos and video of this rare moment with a smartphone like one of the latest and greatest Samsung Galaxy 7S or 8S models, or even a drone. A direct view at the sun or taking photos of it without a special filter is unsafe, except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse, when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s face.
Smartphone Tips to Help Capture the Total Solar Eclipse
To ensure the safety and enjoyment of everyone around you, do not use a camera flash because it will ruin the dark adaptation of people’s eyes and could spoil the event for others. Trust me, you don’t want to be that person. Be sure to experiment with your smartphone camera settings ahead of time and consider downloading an app, such as Camera+ or NightCap Camera for iPhone and iPad or Night Camera for Android devices. These apps can provide higher quality photos and video in low light and help you prepare to capture this moment. Preparation is key because you won’t get another chance at this one. Most smartphone cameras will be able to pick up the moon’s darkened disk surrounded by a recognizable bright solar corona, but you should avoid zooming into the eclipse. Zooming in will give you a pixelated, enlarged image that will not show much detail.
Tips in Regard to Using A Drone to Capture the Total Solar Eclipse
I’m not good at flying drones, but if you’re one of those people that are, drones are definitely suitable to catch video of the approaching and retreating shadow of the moon as it crosses the landscape and the fun reactions of people enjoying the eclipse. However, drones are not good for catching the eclipse itself. If you decide to fly a drone during the solar eclipse, avoid populated areas and practice good wireless etiquette by not flying a drone between crowds and the eclipse. Again, you don’t want to be that person. If you do use a drone I’d love to see some of your shots though. I always find those amazing!
Find out what states will have the best views of the total solar eclipse at https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-maps and then come let me know in the comments how you plan to participate in the eclipse viewing. Will you be trying to capture photographs? Thank you for reading!