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Tips on Photographing the Solar Eclipse

Tips on Photographing the Solar Eclipse



August 21, 2017 is our next total solar eclipse. What’s amazing for those of us in the Pacific Northwest is that we will get to see the full coverage of the eclipse, depending on where you are. In Seattle we won’t get to see 100% full coverage, but if you decide to head to Baker, OR, you will!

While this is going to be a very cool event to witness, there are some things to keep in mind.

1.For 98% of the eclipse you’ll need a solar filter for your lens + solar glasses for your eyes.

2.For less than 3 minutes of the eclipse you won’t need the filter or glasses.

This is to protect your eyes! And your gear.

For these elements, we have you covered! We’ve received a stock of glasses & a variety of filters, in all the sizes you can imagine so you can protect your gear. So check out the options here: Solar Photography.

Other Elements to Consider


The Sun appears to move at approximately 15° per hour, this leaves only a few minutes where the sun would be in the frame using a longer telephoto lens, like 400mm or 600mm.

This means you need to be ready when the full eclipse is in effect. Many blogs recommend doing a complete run through with your equipment, as photographers, this is always a good idea, no matter what you’re going to photograph. Knowing your gear well, means you can quickly resolve issues as they arise, if they arise.


There are many fantastic cameras on the market today, you could use anything from a DSLR to a Mirrorless, but your iPhone may not do the trick on this one!

Telephoto lenses are highly recommended, depending on your camera, you may want to have something in the 200-500mm range, perhaps a little longer. The joy of a zoom here means if you want to change the frame, in that short time span it will be easy. Prime lenses could be more challenging.

Stability. Stability. Stability.
For this event you must stabilize your camera. This is not the moment in time to try to capture this event hand held. Get a sturdy tripod, rated to hold your camera with it’s heaviest lens. If you’re renting a lens, consider the weight of that lens when getting a tripod. You could also rent a tripod!

If you’re interested in using specialised equipment for this event, please chat with our sales staff, or reach out to our Rentals department to reserve that mega zoom lens or awesome DSLR you’ve been wanting to try.


Solar Filters!
Solar Glasses!
Polarie (Star Tracker)
Memory Cards
Extra Camera Body, just in case!

Our friends from Vixen Optics were here recently to lead a couple of workshops on Solar Photography and they were kind enough to leave us a PDF of their presentation. If you’re interested in checking their notes out, please feel free to download it for free here.

Check out NASA’s website for more info on the Eclipse:

NASA – Eclipse 2017

For details about coverage in Seattle.

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