Solar Eclipse 2017

Watching the first total solar eclipse over the continental US in the last 38 years was an incredible experience. Driving for 29 out of the 40 hours we spent on the trip was not. With that being said, it was absolutely worth it and something I’d recommend doing if you ever have the chance. I don’t want to focus too much on the logistics of the trip, but instead share some of my favorite pictures from the trip as well as the gear that let me capture them.

The Filter

The only special piece of equipment you really need to photograph the sun is a solar filter. The filter blocks a large amount of visible, IR, and UV light so that you can safely view the sun with your naked eye. It also protects your sensor and optics from taking in too much energy (think of the lens as a magnifying glass and the sensor as the focus point of the beam), and gives you greater control over your exposure settings. I managed to get my hands on a filter sheet (lens specific filters were much more expensive) a few days before, and started looking around online for how I could affix it to the front of my lens. I did find one solution¬†however, I wasn’t very happy with the design or the idea of having to waste so much plastic printing a hood when I could just use the one that came with my lens, so I decided to design my own.

I wanted to use the lens hood mount on my lens instead of the lens filter as my printer does not have the detail needed to print the filter threads. The hood mounts gave me a bigger footprint to work with, and also makes the attachment much easier to put on and take off.

The bottom part is copied from the actual hood, while the top has a slight recess

The second layer has a protruding lip which sits in the recess and helps physically clamp the flimsy filter paper

The last layer has countersunk holes for the machine screws the hold the entire assembly together, and a mount for the hood

The filter material was a little damaged on the way back, good thing I won’t need it for another seven years

Mounted and ready to go

In action

If you look closely you can see some coronal mass ejections during the full eclipse (red flames)

While it’s hard to put to words the experience of the totality, I captured some video and audio in the moments leading up to it that I hope will give you some idea of what it was like:

Another view: