How to photograph solar eclipses
A walkthrough for the intermediate photographer. You have a DSLR and want to photograph the sun.
Things you won’t need:
Knowledge of light or white balance
Loads of time
Things you will need:
Neutral Density filter (or solar filter)
LCD screen on your camera
1. Neutral Density Filter
This is a must. You need something to darken the frame or you’ll overexpose your image so much you’ll have no image. Worse yet, you may end up damaging your image sensor. Either a 10-stop (a.k.a 'neutral density 3.0') or another very dense filter (like solar filter sheets). Other options are; glass from a welding mask, a blank and clear CD/DVD or anything else clear and dark. (Reminder: CDs and DVDs were those things we used after video tapes but before the cloud).
2. Telephoto Lens (maybe a tripod, too)
Any lens with a longer focal length (135mm or more) will do. The longer the better – either spend thousands of £s on an expensive lens, or mount your camera to a cheap telescope. Also, a tripod will help steady for a better image, but you don’t need one as you can use a fast shutter which will freeze any motion blur, it just might be a little tricky to keep your composition tight.
3. LCD Screen
You don’t really need an LCD screen on your camera, but DEFINITELY DON’T LOOK THROUGH THE VIEWFINDER! It’s the same as looking directly at the sun, or maybe worse due to the magnification of the lens. Use the LCD screen to locate the sun, focus and shoot. You could also take video.
P.s. If you use a welding mask or CD as a filter do so at your own risk. If you get an image from them (and I’ve done both successfully) it may not be great quality, but it’s better than nothing, right?
Where do I get the welding mask glass?
DIY shop or eBay.