Author Topic: Total Solar Eclipse, U.S.A., 21 August 2017  (Read 3614 times)

Bill De Jager

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Re: Total Solar Eclipse, U.S.A., 21 August 2017
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2016, 01:48:58 »
Thanks, pluton.  The fellow in question merely suffered some effects on his lenses that are correctable with glasses, but obviously the consequences could be far worse.

My biggest concern is vibration from the D800. 

Excellent point.  Despite all my mental preparations I haven't figured out all the contradictions in my plans yet.  Here I am using a remote control with mirror up and EFC with my D810 to minimize vibrations, but I forgot to check if the internal auto bracketing or the external software I got would allow all these to be used together.  Time for more research!

There is definitely value in bouncing ideas back and forth like this.

Hugh_3170

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Re: Total Solar Eclipse, U.S.A., 21 August 2017
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2016, 02:30:37 »
Bill, I will be interested in your choice of equatorial mount to support the weight of a 1600mm scope and digital camera, as I am looking to get into astrophotography over the next year or so.

From my readings to date, the cheaper mounts can be a frustrating waste of time and money and the good ones look to be seriously expensive.


Good points, pluton!

I hope to have a 1600mm scope on an equatorial mount with a smaller scope riding piggyback, both with cameras. 

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Hugh Gunn

Bill De Jager

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Re: Total Solar Eclipse, U.S.A., 21 August 2017
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2016, 06:14:10 »
Bill, I will be interested in your choice of equatorial mount to support the weight of a 1600mm scope and digital camera, as I am looking to get into astrophotography over the next year or so.

From my readings to date, the cheaper mounts can be a frustrating waste of time and money and the good ones look to be seriously expensive.

Hugh, that's what I've heard.  I actually have the mount but have not tried it out yet.  It's a Losmandy GM8.  The Losmandy G11 has twice the capacity but it's even more expensive and the components are very heavy.  I'm a rank amateur at this and I'm trying to not bite off too much at once.

Sometime in late October I'll have time to set aside a day to learn the basics of the mount, after which I need to start testing the scope and mount on the moon.  Living in California, I  can do testing all winter except during cloudy periods.  The main scope is a reflector made of carbon fiber (for reduced thermal expansion/contraction) and weighs 7.4 kg. 


pluton

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Re: Total Solar Eclipse, U.S.A., 21 August 2017
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2016, 08:38:41 »
As far as I can determine with some playing around with the D800, the built-in intervalometer can shoot with bracketing, but not mirror-up. External controls, like Camranger, may have similar limitations due to the camera's control logic, but I still need to fully investigate that possibility.  I most need a better/faster operating/more recent small Fuji APSC camera, so that's my thinking at the moment.
Keith B., Santa Monica, CA, USA

JCDowdy

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Re: Total Solar Eclipse, U.S.A., 21 August 2017
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2016, 22:47:01 »
Here is a nice website for good viewing locations: http://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/best-places-to-view/

Since I live near Memphis TN (~95% totality) I am considering a drive up to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area https://www.landbetweenthelakes.us/ near Hopkinsville KY since I have not visited there in many years.  Perhaps just a run up I-40 to somewhere around Nashville TN might do if I don't have that much free time.
John C. Dowdy, Ph.D.

pluton

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Re: Total Solar Eclipse, U.S.A., 21 August 2017
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2016, 17:57:59 »
The eclipse can be seen from any place with a view of the sky: the roadside turnout or a Walmart parking lot.  It's a no-brainer to go, if you live that close to the zone of totality.  The nice thing is that it's so far in the future that it's easy to plan for.
You are lucky; I have to go about 900 miles to the closest possible viewing location.
Keith B., Santa Monica, CA, USA

Bill De Jager

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Re: Total Solar Eclipse, U.S.A., 21 August 2017
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2017, 05:27:21 »
It's time for an update.  I've managed to acquire, through the efforts of a local astronomy club, a reservation at a temporary campground along the eclipse path in Oregon.   Unfortunately, I don't expect extra room at the small campsite I'll be sharing so I can't really invite anyone else to share my space.

There is no lodging available in the area - it was booked some time ago.  However, Madras, Oregon is having a "Solarfest" which still has openings for camping.  One can do primitive camping on remote public lands in the area; one friend will be watching the eclipse from a nearby (by western American standards) mountaintop.

This thread will be a good place for discussions of how to photograph the eclipse as well as the logistics of doing so.  I'm about to take some time off work for early preparations and tests.  I recommend buying specialized gear such as solar filters and eclipse glasses sooner rather than later, as shortages are likely close to the eclipse as all the last-minute folks decide to get ready.  I expect publicity and public interest to follow an exponential curve.

Marcus Rowland

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Re: Total Solar Eclipse, U.S.A., 21 August 2017
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2017, 23:06:31 »
Unfortunately I'm travelling to the World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki a couple of weeks earlier and can't afford to do both. If the con had been in the USA I might have been tempted to take a US holiday long enough to take in both, but it didn't pan out. So I'll try to get some photos of the Northern Lights instead if I get lucky with weather.

Bill De Jager

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Re: Total Solar Eclipse, U.S.A., 21 August 2017
« Reply #23 on: June 28, 2017, 02:17:25 »
Change of Plans!

My reserved spot in a town park turns out to not have a good view of the eclipse.  So I'm back to my previous plan of going somewhere on public lands in eastern Oregon or perhaps Idaho.  I'll be traveling in a pickup truck with camper shell on the back rather than an RV.  I'd be happy to join up with anybody else who wants to start a new nucleus of eclipse photographers and viewers.

pluton

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Re: Total Solar Eclipse, U.S.A., 21 August 2017
« Reply #24 on: August 09, 2017, 17:53:24 »
Change of Plans!

My reserved spot in a town park turns out to not have a good view of the eclipse.  So I'm back to my previous plan of going somewhere on public lands in eastern Oregon or perhaps Idaho.  I'll be traveling in a pickup truck with camper shell on the back rather than an RV.  I'd be happy to join up with anybody else who wants to start a new nucleus of eclipse photographers and viewers.
PM sent...
Keith B., Santa Monica, CA, USA

Bill De Jager

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Re: Total Solar Eclipse, U.S.A., 21 August 2017
« Reply #25 on: August 10, 2017, 20:13:45 »
As far as I can determine with some playing around with the D800, the built-in intervalometer can shoot with bracketing, but not mirror-up. External controls, like Camranger, may have similar limitations due to the camera's control logic, but I still need to fully investigate that possibility.  I most need a better/faster operating/more recent small Fuji APSC camera, so that's my thinking at the moment.

With some invaluable help from the internet I managed to get my D7200, D750, and D810 to all do (1) complete bracketing, (2) with the mirror up, and (3) with just one push of the shutter release on a wired remote.  Settings:

1.  Exposure delay mode ON (menu) (delay set at 2 seconds by personal preference)
2.  Exposure mode set to self-timer* (delay set to 2 seconds by personal preference)
3.  Bracketing set as desired (I'm doing nine at 1-stop intervals; there are some limits on what you can do here on different models)
4.  Live view on

*Trying to use the remote mirror-up or time-delay remote settings doesn't work right, since each push of the remote button only releases one of the bracketed shots. I also tried "S" with exposure delay and that again caused only one bracketed shot to be released per button push. Ours is not to wonder why; Nikon's choices mystify.

I have bracketing set to under-MTR-over, in aperture-priority mode.  With this setting, prior to the start of the bracketing sequences the exposure shown on the top LCD is the farthest under.  Note that particular shutter speed in case there is any problem with possibly getting a partial bracketing set, losing track of where you are, and needing to know whether or not you need to get back to the correct starting point.

With these settings, one button push on the appropriate remote gets me nine bracketed shots with the mirror up.  I also will have the D810 in EFCS mode to further reduce vibration.  I've practiced the eclipse sequence with the main cameras and can get all of them to start and complete their sequences with minimal distracted time for myself.

Important viewing advice from a total solar eclipse veteran I listened to: If you look at the partial eclipse shortly before totality, including the diamond ring and/or Bailey's beads, you'll ruin your (partially adapted) night vision.  He did this once and had an afterimage of the crescent sun superimposed on his view of the corona throughout totality. 

Alternate approach: keep your eyes, or at least one eye, in the dark as much as possible before totality.  This includes camera screens and monitors; mine will be turned maximally down or off after ensuring all settings including focus are correct (focus will be locked in by tape to avoid last-minute accidents).  As totality prepares to end, view the transition to the partial eclipse as you wish, since you will no longer need to preserve your night vision.  Just be aware that it's all to easy to watch Bailey's beads and keep on watching them transition to a crescent without discomfort, and thereby nuke your eyes in the process.  The moment the sun peeks out, on go the eclipse glasses.

Corallary: I'm not going to try to capture any images of the partial eclipse prior to totality, not even Bailey's beads or the diamond ring. Your preferences may vary, but for me totality is the big deal and the first priority. I want to see the maximum coronal extent and detail with my eyes and I want to photograph it.  I don't want to be changing camera settings or removing a solar filter at the last moment, thereby causing distraction, possible critical errors, and missing transient phenomena with my eyes. (Scopes and lenses will be covered until 15 seconds before totality to protect equipment.  Optical viewfinders will be blocked with tape for safety.)

As totality ends I'll trigger another sequence with the camera on the larger scope, to try to capture Bailey's beads.  Then on goes the solar filter, the settings are adjusted, more shots happen, and I cover up the other scope and lenses since their work is done.

I'll also be running other cameras on intervalometers and video, taking wide-angle environmental shots.  A few minutes after totality ends, those will get turned off and turned away from the sun.  I had no problem photographing a partial eclipse with a wide-angle lens in 2012.

I'm setting two timers (regular and backup) to go off 20 seconds before totality ends, as a warning.  This is especially important if you're looking through binoculars or other optical instruments.

TEN-SECOND RULE.  Wise advice I heard from that same person : If you run into photographic problems of any sort during totality and spend any more than 10 seconds trying to fix them, forget the camera(s) and just look at the eclipse.  If you futz around trying to fix things, you're in grave danger of losing track of time and not seeing the eclipse with your eyes at all, let alone getting a good look at it.  You don't want your eclipse experience to consist of frantic efforts fighting equipment or settings problems, followed by trying to see what you missed by looking at photos that won't be as good as the original in the sky.

You also want to take a few moments here and there before and during totality to look around at the sky and the weird lighting on your surroundings.  I've seen up to 94% blockage of the sun and at that point it's like no lighting I've ever seen anywhere.  It's certainly not anything like a sunset or sunrise.



ColinM

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Re: Total Solar Eclipse, U.S.A., 21 August 2017
« Reply #26 on: August 10, 2017, 21:52:36 »
Lots of useful advice here.

My most recent experience was a partial eclipse, the same morning I came home from an operation.

Still somewhat under the residual influence of general anesthesia, I ended up just watching it and the lighting conditions changing, than trying to take pictures.

CS

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Re: Total Solar Eclipse, U.S.A., 21 August 2017
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2017, 00:42:27 »
Oh Bill, that was a wake up call for me. I remembered, after reading your remarks, wearing variable density dark adaptation glasses for half an hour before going on deck to stand a night lookout watch at sea back 60 years ago. It made no sense to try to stand such a watch if it would take your eyes 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness after being in the well lit interior. Thanks for the reminder, which I passed on to my friend, in case he was unaware.  :)
Carl

Bill De Jager

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Re: Total Solar Eclipse, U.S.A., 21 August 2017
« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2017, 02:22:09 »
Thanks, Colin and Carl.

Another issue could be drones.  Most drones may not be very good at getting direct photos of the eclipse due to small sensors and limiting lenses. However, by getting between crowds and the eclipse, it should be possible to get very nice photos of the crowd looking up in the general direction of the drone, all wearing eclipse glasses.  Of course, this kind of inconsiderate activity would ruin efforts by people below to view and photograph the eclipse, especially near and during totality which is the most critical time.

Finally, smoke from forest fires is currently a big concern in Oregon and Idaho, among other states.  Most of this smoke is from farther north and will probably clear up in a few more days, but it will still need continued monitoring.  As always with a solar eclipse, be prepared to change your viewing location!

Fanie

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Re: Total Solar Eclipse, U.S.A., 21 August 2017
« Reply #29 on: August 11, 2017, 09:24:39 »
However you guys intend to photograph the eclipse, enjoy it. Make sure to also enjoy the moment, one could get distracted operating all the cameras and before you know it, its over.

I had the privilege to experience this on a beach in Mozambique, using an old Nikon 601 with a Sigma 170-500 zoom with a 2TC on Fuji film.
Fanie du Plessis
Pretoria,  South Africa