PIQUA – After much hype, and for many, a long wait, the eve of the most complete total solar eclipse to cross the United States in more than nine decades, is finally here.
On Monday, the moon will pass between the Earth and the sun, with the moon’s shadow turning daylight into near darkness.
We, here in southwest Ohio are quite lucky as we will be in the area of approximately 90 percent totality from the eclipse, which begins just after 1 p.m. and reaches totality at 2:28 p.m.
Millions of Americans will be watching as the path of the eclipse travels across the country.
Many of us are planning on watching, photographing, or both..
As a professional photographer, I believe in being prepared for my next assignment, which is to take photographs of this eclipse, although I, like most of you, am experiencing my first total solar eclipse.
I thought that I should share a few things, based on my research and on my experience, as we prepare for this fabulous event.
I am not trying to discourage anyone from taking photos, but, please keep in mind that there is an element of danger involved in attempting to view, or photograph, this eclipse. The intense sunlight will damage your eyes if you do not follow safety precautions!
Since I am not an expert in the field of astronomy and doing solar photography, I will only say that I am personally a bit skeptical of the solar viewing glasses that are being seen most everywhere. I am not saying that there aren’t very good ones out there. I am only saying that I do not know which are “good” and which are not, therefore, I am choosing to not attempt to view the eclipse other than through my properly-filtered camera lens.
If you are going to attempt to take photographs, the first rule is to have the correct solar lens filter on every lens and camera that you point at the sun.
I purchased two such filters. One is a B+W Solar Filter. The second is a six-inch square SolarLite polymer filter sheet.
Have your camera mounted on a good quality tripod. Do not attempt to compose your photo by looking through the viewfinder. Use the LCD viewing screen to compose.
I highly recommend having all of your equipment set up in plenty of time to be ready for the eclipse. Once the eclipse begins, think before making any moves or adjustments. Remember, one slip-up of looking directly at the sun through the viewfinder and you could spend the rest of your life with impaired, or no, vision!
A few other suggestions as you begin packing for the eclipse.
Make sure that you have all of your batteries fully charged. Not only camera batteries but cell phones, iPads, etc.
Depending on your viewing location, a lawn chair might be a welcome addition. Remember, the eclipse lasts for several hours.
Bring plenty of water with you. Staying hydrated is always important and Monday is supposed to be very warm.
Let’s all have fun out there! Stay cool, stay hydrated, and most of all … stay safe!