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Old 03-06-2017, 08:59 PM
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Total Eclipse Photography guide

I've penned a few thoughts for those who may be traveling to the USA in a few months for the total solar eclipse

Hardly comprehensive, but I hope you may find it useful

http://www.atscope.com.au/BRO/tutori...alEclipse.html
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Old 05-06-2017, 08:17 PM
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philiphart (Phil Hart)
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Thanks Peter. A helpful prompt to look through.

I've added sunscreen to my pack list .

Phil
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Old 06-06-2017, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by philiphart View Post
Thanks Peter. A helpful prompt to look through.

I've added sunscreen to my pack list .

Phil


I'm sure other (experienced) eclipse chasers may find it a bit of a yawn, but hopefully some tips will be useful for novices.

I was thinking of throwing some more test images onto the page...but given the lack of interest...maybe not.
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Old 07-06-2017, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ward View Post


I'm sure other (experienced) eclipse chasers may find it a bit of a yawn, but hopefully some tips will be useful for novices.

I was thinking of throwing some more test images onto the page...but given the lack of interest...maybe not.
Thanks for this Peter. Don't take lack of thread responses for lack of interest.
I also didn't even think about sunscreen and would be interested in any further info or tips you might have. I haven't finalised my equipment list as yet (still trying to decide on mount options) but hope to do so over the next few weeks.
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Old 07-06-2017, 10:55 AM
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Thanks for this Peter. Don't take lack of thread responses for lack of interest.
I also didn't even think about sunscreen and would be interested in any further info or tips you might have. I haven't finalised my equipment list as yet (still trying to decide on mount options) but hope to do so over the next few weeks.
No problemo....I'll probably put a few more lens test shots up at the same URL over the next few weeks.

Many of my comments were based on my personal "Doh!" moments over the years...got my face/ears really sunburnt at Ceduna even though it was cloudy much of the day.

US eclipse will be my 7th TSE, and I'm still deciding what to take, but for sure, you can bet on solar filters becoming un-obtanium before the August.

Hence now is about the time to have one's gear (almost) sorted.
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Old 07-06-2017, 12:17 PM
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Good guide Peter. All my guide is :
Practice long before the event!!!!


I'll just add a few of my thoughts not to detract from yours but reinforce what you've said.

I'm yet to get a chance at a total but caught a few partials and the venus transit and every single time PRACTICE was key. Work out the manual settings to get you a good clean shot of full disc, I've found this setting works through partiality, you dont get dimming until totality so find the ONE setting that works, go outside in the weeks before and practice setting up and taking shots. The sun and moon are in constant motion so you won't have time to fumble trying settings once it hits totality, dont waste time reviewing shots on camera.

If I get a shot at a total (only 4,048 days until i might have a chance) I'd also have a second setting worked out to bracket exposure times using high speed shooting to try to capture corona details during totality. Plan ahead what shots you want and do test runs before the date to fine tune exactly what settings you need and how you're going to time shots etc. Don't just assume you can show up with gear and it will all work out on the fly.

Also don't just stick with one camera if you have several, you can configure other cameras to take certain shots/time lapse etc.

Another thing to practice is shooting the sun when its behind cloud cover, Find a good setting for that too in case the clouds get in your way on the day. Even behind clouds you can easily get the partiality and even sunspots, dont just assume you cant get anything for an event thats so rare for most people.
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Old 11-06-2017, 10:53 PM
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More test data added...same URL
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Old 13-06-2017, 12:03 PM
mbaddah (Mohammed)
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Hi Peter,

Thanks so much for taking the time to post this, it's exactly what i was looking for as I too will be travelling to TN, Usa in August to chase the eclipse.

That last shot you have posted of the corona (petal like formation) was that a single 2-3 second shot, or a stack of images? Seems like ~500mm is the recommended focal length for these types of images?

I'm going to have one camera setup (trying to work out which one to take/buy) and will practice as much as possible before hand. May even purchase a skywatcher tracker. I don't want to spend too much time with camera and really want to spend as much time as possible observing totality with naked eye.

Thanks again!
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Old 13-06-2017, 02:09 PM
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Should have specified this image
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Old 14-06-2017, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by mbaddah View Post
Hi Peter,

Thanks so much for taking the time to post this, it's exactly what i was looking for as I too will be travelling to TN, Usa in August to chase the eclipse.

That last shot you have posted of the corona (petal like formation) was that a single 2-3 second shot, or a stack of images? Seems like ~500mm is the recommended focal length for these types of images?

I'm going to have one camera setup (trying to work out which one to take/buy) and will practice as much as possible before hand. May even purchase a skywatcher tracker. I don't want to spend too much time with camera and really want to spend as much time as possible observing totality with naked eye.

Thanks again!
Glad you found the guide to be useful. I'll add more information as time allows.

That last image was shot using a Pentax DSLR and William Optics 80mm APO refractor. It is a stack of about 17 images. It won a few awards

Focal length is really dealer's choice. If you have a beautiful foreground scene it would be a shame not to include it...hence you'd be looking at standard focal lengths i.e. 50mm or so, for a full frame camera, plus a fixed tripod.

At 500mm you'll want to be tracking the sun with a small EQ mount...as apart from avoiding image blur from the earth's rotation, you won't be struggling to keep the Sun constantly re centered during the eclipse.
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Old 14-06-2017, 06:24 PM
mbaddah (Mohammed)
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Originally Posted by Peter Ward View Post
Glad you found the guide to be useful. I'll add more information as time allows.

That last image was shot using a Pentax DSLR and William Optics 80mm APO refractor. It is a stack of about 17 images. It won a few awards

Focal length is really dealer's choice. If you have a beautiful foreground scene it would be a shame not to include it...hence you'd be looking at standard focal lengths i.e. 50mm or so, for a full frame camera, plus a fixed tripod.

At 500mm you'll want to be tracking the sun with a small EQ mount...as apart from avoiding image blur from the earth's rotation, you won't be struggling to keep the Sun constantly re centered during the eclipse.
Thanks Peter for the tips.

Congrats on the awards! Well deserved
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Old 14-06-2017, 09:57 PM
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Tested my Canon 50mm f1.4L lens last night. Needs to be at least f5 to match the sharpness of the image you posted.

Phil
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Old 14-06-2017, 10:46 PM
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Tested my Canon 50mm f1.4L lens last night. Needs to be at least f5 to match the sharpness of the image you posted.

Phil
Canon make some great glass, but I fear they have been resting on their laurels for some time now. I have the L series 85mm f1.2. Frankly it's a very average with point sources (aka stars) due a fair bit of CA when wide open.

Sigma's Art series are remarkable for the money and often 1/2 the price of the equivalent L-series....well worth a look.
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Old 15-06-2017, 03:37 PM
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Peter is there any other tracker you would recommend for travel now that the losmandy is discontinued?
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Old 16-06-2017, 08:58 AM
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Peter is there any other tracker you would recommend for travel now that the losmandy is discontinued?
As I mentioned on the web page, the Astrotrac clearly works well. Case in point Troy C has used one with great success in the CWAS/Malin awards.

Beyond that I can't say, other than the PE of the Vixen Polarie looks to be better than similar small payload units that come out of China.
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Old 18-06-2017, 07:44 AM
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As I mentioned on the web page, the Astrotrac clearly works well. Case in point Troy C has used one with great success in the CWAS/Malin awards.

Beyond that I can't say, other than the PE of the Vixen Polarie looks to be better than similar small payload units that come out of China.
Thanks Peter
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Old 18-06-2017, 11:43 AM
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Mohammed,
Are you asking about portable trackers for eclipse chasing / photography or for astrophotography more generally?

Drive precision and PE specs for eclipse photography are pretty irrelevant. If you use 70-80mm diameter f6-f8 refractors, or a 4-5" f12.5 mak, the longest exposures are only 1-2s for such optics. Even 200" PE won't affect such a short exposure.

During a total eclipse, the primary job of the drive is to keep the image centered and by using an equatorial mount, no rotatation is required later when processing, aligning and stacking images. There are no stars to register on in the short exposures and the moon moves relative to the corona so you can't use the moon.

If you are asking the question for longer exposure astrophotography more generally, then Pete's advice holds. Also read Phil Hart's SW Star Adventurer review. The Star Adventurer has an autoguider ST4 connector which can take input from a SW Synguider.

You could also consider building a compact lightweight double arm Trott type 4 barn door.

Joe
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Old 18-06-2017, 12:24 PM
Wavytone (Nick)
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The great grand-daddy of eclipse chasing is Fred Espenak, aka Mr Eclipse. Everything you'll need is here including maps, weather, exposure guides and how-to stuff.

http://www.mreclipse.com

If you have a larger lens or small scope consider the Skywatcher All View mount; it's altaz but if you level it, set your coordinates and do a one-star alignment (sun) it will track well enough from that. And it's sufficient for any DSLR and lens combo or scopes up to 90mm.
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Old 18-06-2017, 03:16 PM
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Mohammed,
Are you asking about portable trackers for eclipse chasing / photography or for astrophotography more generally?

Drive precision and PE specs for eclipse photography are pretty irrelevant. If you use 70-80mm diameter f6-f8 refractors, or a 4-5" f12.5 mak, the longest exposures are only 1-2s for such optics. Even 200" PE won't affect such a short exposure. ..........

Joe
I'd agree with Joe's comments here, but you might want to look what you'll do with the tracker after the massive two and a half minutes use you might get during a total solar eclipse.

The PE of the unit will define how long an exposure you can take at a particular focal length without getting eggy stars...things get far more terse after 200 mm or so.
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Old 18-06-2017, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
I'd agree with Joe's comments here, but you might want to look what you'll do with the tracker after the massive two and a half minutes use you might get during a total solar eclipse.
Likewise I agree with Pete. You need to think about what you want to do, in addition to the eclipse. Weight is not such an issue. All air tickets to the USA that I've seen, come with 46kg luggage allocation. You can bring an HEQ5, iOptron iEQ45 etc if you want.

I have two EQ trackers for travel.

One is a home built very lightweight rig that I machined/constructed 17 yrs ago before the current crop of trackers were release. It has milled slots where the dec attaches to the RA so that the load can be balanced without counterweights. Losmandy, SW etc copied my concept years later .

The entire rig tripod, EQ head, wedge, drive control and power supply weighs 4.5 kg all up. The declination is a strut design and disassembles to pack to flat plates. The worm drive is a 50mm straight spur gear driven by a helical cut worm. The worm was something I salvaged from a scrapyard purchase. Backlash and PE never measured but I am pretty sure both are terrible. I use this just for the eclipse. It will hold an ED80 or WO72mm APO however being so light, it can tip. At site, I attach water bottles to the legs to stabilize the mount. See attached photo. I removed the water bottles for the photo .

The other one is a Losmandy Starlapse purchased 2nd hand from another IIS member 3 yrs ago. I use the same home made 400g tripod, wedge, power supply just swap the EQ heads and drive control - 7.5kg all up.

I take the Losmandy with me when I want an astrophotography tracking mount as well as an eclipse mount. I use my custom lightweight mount when carry weight/volume are an issue and if I don't intend to do any astrophotography.

Joe
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