Experts

Experts teach photographers how to make solar filters for eclipse | Local

Experts guided a group of photographers Saturday at Oregon State University in building solar filters to attach to their cameras, telescopes and binoculars on the day of the eclipse.

Just as eclipse viewers must wear glasses while watching the partial phases of the eclipse to protect from solar retinal damage, camera lenses must also be protected.

“You cannot look through a camera at the sun with your naked eye,” said Dr. Randall Milstein, Oregon Space Grant Consortium astronomer-in-residence, who led the filter-making demonstration. “And you also cannot look at the sun through your camera with a pair of solar glasses on.”

The camera will magnify the sun’s light, burn through your glasses and cause eye damage, he said. Instead, the camera lens should be covered with a Mylar film during the duration of the eclipse. The only time the filter should be taken off is during totality, or when the moon is completely covering the sun’s bright face.

Eye damage caused from looking directly at the sun during the eclipse could be permanent, ophthalmologists say.

In Corvallis, the eclipse will take place from about 9:04 a.m. to 11:37 a.m. Totality will be at approximately 10:16 a.m. and will last about one minute and 40 seconds.

Saturday’s filter-making lesson was the seventh and final such session put on by OSU, Milstein said. He said he and his fellow photographers and astronomers are focusing on safety, first and foremost.

They warned attendees of fake, uncertified eclipse glasses being sold online. Certified solar eclipse glasses will bear a tiny picture of a globe with the letters “ISO” inside, the initials “CE” and a statement that says the glasses meet the requirements for ISO 12312-2. 

Astrophotographer Tom Carrico also offered advice on how to successfully photograph the eclipse. He suggested that photographers use tripods and  remote clickers. Without a remote, a photographer might bump the camera while taking a photo, upsetting the frame. He also offered advice on what ISO, aperture and shutter speed to use and how to capture the sun’s corona and its prominences.

Carrico said photographers should practice ahead of Aug. 21 so they’re prepared to set up their camera on a tripod and program it to take photos during the eclipse, while making only minor adjustments as the sun moves through the sky. This way they can enjoy the eclipse rather than fuss with their camera.

But, Carrico warned photographers not to become overwhelmed with capturing the eclipse. For those who have never seen an eclipse, Milstein recommended not taking pictures at all.

“Enjoy the eclipse,” he said. “It’s the most beautiful shared experience and beautiful natural phenomenon in the world. Don’t spend it looking through a piece of electronic equipment. Share it with those around you.”

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