How to safely take photos, videos of total solar eclipse

Photo courtesy MGN Image

By Briona Arradondo

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -- There is just one week until the total solar eclipse coming through Middle Tennessee, and many people will need to know how to safely take photos and videos to capture the moment.

"I would say practice doing this before the eclipse day because there's going to be so much action that day that you just want to be ready," said Christine Rogers, a photography professor at Belmont University in Nashville.

The total solar eclipse on August 21 will happen in the middle of the day around 1:36 p.m. central time in Nashville.

Rogers said the camera sensor on your smartphone or digital camera is just as susceptible to damage from looking directly at the sun as your eyes.

"Before totality is when you have to cover your eyes, so pretty much whenever you have to cover your eyes, you have to cover the lens with a filter," said Rogers.

There are universal filters that cover your video or still camera lens, and there are also nearly $300 professional grade filters that attach to the camera. News4 found filters sold out and on back order on some websites.

It's simpler to use approved eclipse glasses to cover your phone or point-and-shoot camera, as long as you make sure turn off the flash and auto focus.

"If you have (the eclipse glasses) covering up your eye completely then your eye is protected to look through your camera. And when it's time to take it down, you can keep holding it, and then take it down (together)," said Rogers.

If you're using a DSLR camera on the day of the eclipse, there are some settings you can use to enhance the quality of those photos. Rogers suggests using an aperture of F-8 or F-11 to get more detailed photos or F-22 for a flare effect.

"Another thing is that you want to stabilize your camera, especially as it starts to get darker," said Rogers.

You can use a tripod or just put the camera up against a building. Rogers said to make sure you pack extra batteries and cards and remember to enjoy the experience.

There are some links online for how to make your own filter, but photography experts say to do that at your own risk. The only way to know your camera and eyes are protected will be to look for those approved eclipse glasses or approved solar filters.


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