Want to take photos of solar eclipse? Follow some simple tips, experts say
SEATTLE -- Thousands of cameras will be pointed toward the sky on Monday morning with many people hoping to capture photos of the solar eclipse.
Cameras and photographs have been Tim Durkan’s passion for decades.
This Monday, he’ll finally get the chance to add a solar eclipse to his repertoire. He plans to have four cameras set up to shoot video, a time lapse, and capture plenty of still photos with his big lens.
“It’s been 40 years since I’ve seen one, so I have to. I’m driven to it. I’ll drive all night long to get the shot, if I have to,” Durkan said.
As long as you’re capturing wide-angle photos and the sun is a small spot within the composition, it’s probably okay to not have a solar filter on your digital camera, Durkan said.
But you’ll definitely want a solar filter for any zoomed-in shots or if you plan to point your camera directly toward the sun for a long period of time.
Good luck finding a solar filter in time.
Local businesses like Kenmore Camera have been sold out of solar filters for days. Employees don’t expect any more shipments in before Monday.
"Every other phone call is somebody that we’re gonna disappoint and say we’re out of viewing filters. No, I’m sorry we’re out of solar filters," said Bob Donovan, Owner of Kenmore Camera. "Without a solar filter, if you were to shoot it… that amount of light... you’re going to damage the sensor in your camera. Let alone your eye."
If you plan to use a smartphone, you won't need a filter over the lens during totality, according to NASA.
Wide-angle shots on your phone are probably best, Durkan said. It might be a good idea to invest in a tripod to help keep the shot steady.
"As a photographer, I’m super excited. But I’m not forgetting the fact that I’m not gonna live this just through the lens," Durkan said. "I’m gonna live this through my own eyes, too."
If you do plan to hold your smartphone up to capture images of the solar eclipse, you’ll want to wear a pair of reputable viewing glasses to protect your eyes.
They cost just a few dollars.
But many local business have had a difficult time keeping them in stock lately.