This is the ninth installment in a series about the upcoming total solar eclipse of April 8, 2024. Villagers are very fortunate to be directly aligned with the path.

Many images of the eclipse will be attempted using a smartphone. But, despite the quality vastly improving in recent years, imaging a partial solar eclipse using a phone is not easy. It’s necessary to use solar filters for the entire event – you must not look at this eclipse with the naked eye at any time except during totality.

You can make your own solar filter. An extra pair of solar eclipse glasses adapted to fit your phone will block out 99.99% of the sun rays. Just cut certified solar glasses in half and tape one of the film pieces over the smartphone lens. You can also purchase filters and holders made specifically for smartphones.

Since the eclipse will be tiny in the default view, it will be impossible to resist the temptation to zoom in slightly. Zooming in on the eclipse will only make the image look grainy and pixelated. Instead, buy a zoom lens, use a telescope, or try cropping the image afterward in a photo editor to make the eclipse look bigger.

Smartphones are perfect for capturing dramatic panoramic shots of the sky and the local scenery during totality. To add creativity to your composition, you can include people observing in the foreground, silhouetted by the sunset colors along the horizon.

You should set your phone up on a tripod to keep the image steady. Any time you touch your phone to take a photo, you will experience a phone shake. There are many brands of smartphone holders that have the 1/4-20-inch thread to attach to a tripod. A shutter delay or a Bluetooth remote is also recommended. Using a shutter delay will help with the wobble of touching the phone to take that photo.

Besides still pictures, you can also use the camera’s video mode to record various moments of the eclipse such as the shadow of the Moon as it approaches and then retreats. For best results, use a tripod and an adapter to hold the phone and keep it steady while recording.

If you want to take highly detailed, close-up shots of the eclipse and you don’t have an optical zoom lens, a telescope can magnify the image. Be sure to place a proper, safe solar filter in front of the telescope when shooting the partial phase.

The quickest and easiest way to shoot through a properly filtered telescope is by holding the phone camera in your hand. First, insert a low- to medium-power eyepiece into the focuser and focus the telescope on the Sun. Then hold your smartphone and aim its camera lens directly into the eyepiece. To prevent stray light from causing unwanted glare or reflections, try to get the lens as close to the eyepiece as possible.

Use the LCD screen to center the sun. Try not to use the camera’s “digital” zoom to enlarge the image since this can degrade the image quality. Manually focus the camera by placing your finger on the image of the Sun’s limb and tapping the screen lightly to lock the focus. Slide your finger up or down to lighten or darken the exposure, then try to hold the camera as steady as you can while clicking the shutter button or icon. Of course, you don’t need to use a solar filter during totality.

A better and steadier way than holding your smartphone in your hand is to use a commercial bracket to attach the phone securely to the eyepiece barrel of the telescope.

To enhance your camera’s imaging capability, you can download photo apps — such as Camera+ or NightCap Pro for iPhones and iPads, as well as Camera FV-5 or Open Camera for Android phones and tablets — so you can manually fine-tune the camera’s focus, exposure settings, and much more.

The HSV Camera Club and Village Stargazers will continue to post information articles on the solar eclipse. Next week we will cover using other viewing options.


By HSV Camera Club and Village Stargazers

Photographing 2024 Total Solar Eclipse with Smartphone 4
Photographing 2024 Total Solar Eclipse with Smartphone 4

Click here to read “Photographing Solar Eclipse – DSL Camera.”

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