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Subject: "Just took this...." Previous topic | Next topic
gg987 Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Jun 2012Thu 13-Sep-12 09:17 PM
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"Just took this...."


Encino, US
          

Checking out solar filter and TC-20E III. First time using both of them. Photo taken at 10:48 AM. D800e - AF-S VR Nikkor 600mm f/4g ED - 1200mm, ISO 63, -2 EV, f/45, 1/20 sec.

No post-production. My first time photographing the sun. Getting ready for eclipse. This is the first photo I've posted. Not sure how it will look, but I'm hoping to post many more.






Gail Goldstein
D8ooE D800
AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Just took this....
gg987 Silver Member
13th Sep 2012
1
Reply message RE: Just took this....
dm1dave Administrator
13th Sep 2012
2
Reply message RE: Just took this....
ScottChapin Moderator
13th Sep 2012
3
Reply message RE: Just took this....
nrothschild Silver Member
13th Sep 2012
4
Reply message RE: Just took this....
gg987 Silver Member
14th Sep 2012
5
     Reply message RE: Just took this....
klrbee25 Silver Member
14th Sep 2012
6
     Reply message RE: Just took this....
nrothschild Silver Member
14th Sep 2012
7
Reply message How To Practice For a Solar Eclipse...
nrothschild Silver Member
14th Sep 2012
8
Reply message RE: How To Practice For a Solar Eclipse...
nrothschild Silver Member
14th Sep 2012
9
     Reply message RE: How To Practice For a Solar Eclipse...
gg987 Silver Member
14th Sep 2012
10
          Reply message RE: How To Practice For a Solar Eclipse...
nrothschild Silver Member
14th Sep 2012
11
          Reply message RE: How To Practice For a Solar Eclipse...
burchan Silver Member
22nd Nov 2012
12

gg987 Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Jun 2012Thu 13-Sep-12 09:20 PM
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#1. "RE: Just took this...."
In response to Reply # 0


Encino, US
          

BTW, Pleeez offer any suggestions you have. Thanks!

Gail Goldstein
D8ooE D800
AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Thu 13-Sep-12 10:16 PM
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#2. "RE: Just took this...."
In response to Reply # 0


Lowden, US
          

That is pretty cool!

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberThu 13-Sep-12 11:06 PM
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#3. "RE: Just took this...."
In response to Reply # 0


Powder Springs, US
          

That is nice. It looks like it would be fun. Thanks for sharing.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Thu 13-Sep-12 11:33 PM
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#4. "RE: Just took this...."
In response to Reply # 0
Fri 14-Sep-12 12:07 AM by nrothschild

US
          

Hi Gail,

Good that you're practicing now... this is for the Nov 13 2012 eclipse? Isn't this the eclipse that never makes landfall?

(who plans these eclipses? )

A couple of things...

1. The sun's rate of movement, at 1200mm on a D800, is about 18 pixels per seconds. For that reason alone I think you should be shooting at 1/50s

2. Shooting at f/45 puts you way into diffraction softening focal ratios with no good reason

3) If you are doing this on a ship, then 1/20s will be a disaster. You will need all the focal length you can get and you may get seasick watching the sun move in and out of your field of view as the ship rolls.

I would shoot at f/11. I'm not sure I would use a 2x TC, and this has noting to do with inherent optical quality. It has to do with getting the fastest shutter speed possible, especially if on a ship.

I've shot the sun with telescopes and white light filters for many years. But never with my 500/4 for example. I think you can get more detail on the sunspots (which is the only detail you will get until totality).

Many years ago I shot a total eclipse at 1400mm on 35mm film with a telescope. I also shot it at 200mm for a wide angle shot because there were some nearby planets. What I learned from that experience is that the ideal focal length for the "long shot" is actually closer to 600mm and I will explain why, with some examples, after you confirm the details of where you are shooting, and etc.

I assume you are shooting this from a fixed tripod? Not a motorized equatorial mount? That makes a HUGE difference, even if on land, and favors a shorter, faster optical configuration. I will explain why later.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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gg987 Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Jun 2012Fri 14-Sep-12 12:30 AM
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#5. "RE: Just took this...."
In response to Reply # 4


Encino, US
          

Thanks for your help. Yes, I had a fixed tripod. The f/45 was my resort because all the others came out too bright, and using faster shutter speeds. Maybe one big problem is that I'm trying to get myself to use aperture priority instead of manual, which I prefer. It seems that the Nikonian pros prefer that mode and I'll be going on a workshop where I know I will be told to use it. I'm in LA and it was so hot (horrible heat wave for weeks)that I decided to see what I had and go back and shoot manual next time.
Please tell me more...

Thanks,
Gail

  

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klrbee25 Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Jun 2006Fri 14-Sep-12 10:37 AM
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#6. "RE: Just took this...."
In response to Reply # 5


Naples, US
          

I've never done solar photography. Would a 10-stop ND filter work in addition to your solar filter? Obviously you'd have to find a big Cokin type filter to hold in front of the lens since you're shooting the 600mm that uses drop ins.

-Alex Rosen
www.flickr.com/photos/klrbee25/

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 14-Sep-12 12:40 PM
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#7. "RE: Just took this...."
In response to Reply # 5
Fri 14-Sep-12 01:26 PM by nrothschild

US
          

Hi Gail,

The sun, at that scale, should have given you a decent exposure. I don't know why Matrix Metering and Aperture priority would overexpose at wider apertures (doesn't make sense so something else is going on here).

Despite that, the way to do this is manual exposure mode so you should get VERY comfortable with that exposure method.

1. Which filter are you using?

2. Are you doing this from a ship? If so, which ship? (it may have some relevance in terms of who is on that ship, size and layout of the ship, and etc. There are good things and bad things about shooting from a ship)

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 14-Sep-12 05:43 PM
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#8. "How To Practice For a Solar Eclipse..."
In response to Reply # 0
Fri 14-Sep-12 06:05 PM by nrothschild

US
          

Your post has lead me down memory lane to Feb 26 1998 (my total eclipse):-). There is a lot I would like to say but it may take time to put it together. Despite a huge amount of preparation that went on for over a year, and me being a long time amateur astronomer, I made a LOT of critical mistakes. Those mistakes are fairly inevitable to a first time eclipse chaser/photographer.

Your image here with the solar filter is good practice for the partial phases but that is just a side-show. The reason you will be there is the total phase, and that will last 4 minutes or less. For reasons I will talk about some time later you may only have a minute or less.

It is difficult to practice for a total lunar or solar eclipse since they are unique events widely separated by time.

After thinking about this for 15 years now, I have concluded that the BEST way to practice for a total lunar or solar eclipse is to shoot earthshine on the moon when it is 2-4 days from new, on either side of the new moon.

Earthshine is sunlight reflected from the earth, to the moon, and then back to earth. It is the ghostly appearance of the unlit portion of a crescent moon.

The darker the sky, the better, but as the moon sets (new moons) or before well risen on old moons atmospheric problems can obscure the view. Tough to predict with precision... you just shoot it when you see the earthshine, for as long as you can before the moon sets (new) or dawn encroaches (old).

You get 6 possible days per month to do this and you only have two lunations left before your big day (actually only 1 1/2). I would recommend taking advantage of every opportunity you can. I don't know about LA but around here my chances of suitable weather are about 1 in 3 or worse. For me I might have 2 or 3 shots at this before November.

Your next opportunity is Sept 17, 18 and 19 with the upcoming 2nd-4th day moon after the new moon on the 15th. You will shoot this starting at sunset, and then ideally until the moon sets. You may not see the moon (especially the 2nd day) until some time after sunset but you want to be set up and ready to go at sunset (trust me on that).

You can also shoot the day before and following the new moon, and these moons have plenty of earthshine, but if you read my recent post on chasing new and old moons you will understand why the chances of doing so are rather modest to poor. The 2nd to 4th days surrounding the new moon are simply far more doable.

By the 5th day the moon is so bright that there is little or any earthshine remaining. Even the 4th day is not as productive as the 3rd, but it depends on the timing of the new moon.

If you have binoculars, bring them and use them to find the moon before it is visible to the naked eye

The next op is the old moon before the Oct 15 new moon. That would be prior to sunrise on Oct 11, 12 and 13. You shoot that at dawn well before sunrise. I would set up at least an hour ahead of sunrise. Not as convenient but you don't have many ops left and the old moon is far more favorable this time of year. It is higher in the sky than the early new crescent moons and less subject to clouds on the horizon. This is the least favorable time of year to shoot the more convenient evening new moons.

Your last op is the 2nd to 4th day moons on Oct 17th, 18th and 19th just after the Oct 15 new moon.

For the old moons just prior to the Nov 13th new moon and eclipse, you will likely be in transit or on a ship and can't depend on any practice then. You can't do this properly from a ship, even a big ship.

You need a view as close to the west horizon (at sunset for new moons) as possible. For you, maybe a coastal view over the Pacific. Better would be the tall hills just to the east of LA if that is doable, to get you up and away from any marine layer or haze.

For the old moons, you need a view to the east, where the sun rises, and in LA that may be problematic and may require a more extensive field trip.

The image below was shot on a D700 on a fixed tripod with my 500/4 AFS. The exposure is 2s f/4 ISO 1600. Do not even think about using a TC. Trust me; I'll explain sometime later. The D700 is my first camera that I felt could shoot decent earthshine from a fixed tripod, due to the need for a 2s minimum exposure at ISO 1600 or thereabouts (varies based on the age of the moon and local conditions).

This image is mildly cropped. The moon is probably just a bit larger, in the scale of the image, than what you will get with your 600/4. Compare the scale to lunar or solar images you may have shot at 600mm.

I would recommend shooting with manual exposure, always wide open (do not stop down for any reason- if you need to stop down you need to get your lens repaired). Start at ISO 1600, with images at 1/4s, 1/2s, 1s, 2s, 4s, 8s.

The 1/4 second exposure will be the sharpest, but also too dim. The 8s exposure may actually be more richly exposed than ideal, but the 4s is probably about perfect (one stop beyond my image). It will also be smeared by the movement of the moon. The 2s image will probably be what I call the Grand Compromise here, and in some ways might even be ideal. But there is easily a stop of latitude depending on the age of the moon and local conditions.

You can repeat that at ISO 3200 and even ISO 6400. Maybe try ISo 800 if you have more time. The idea here is to get a set of reference images showing the various trade-offs and problems as you push the various envelopes of shutter speed (movement) and ISO (noise).

You will have exactly the same problems shooting the total phase of the solar eclipse. You won't have as much time, though, so you can't just endlessly bracket a total eclipse, as you can with the crescent moon. You want to understand the trade-offs as best possible before the Big Day in November.

You will also get practice shooting in twilight. Although the eclipse might be at high noon, during totality it will be dark enough to see stars. It is night-time during the day and a lot of people are caught short there because they practiced with a solar filter in broad daylight, but during totality they find themselves fumbling around in the dark .

I would suggest focusing on the crescent, using LiveView zoomed to 100% pixels or just slightly under if the max zoom is difficult to interpret. Hopefully your D800 LV will give you a usable exposure - that is something else that needs thorough testing before the Big Day.

You can practice on other phases of the moon at night but the exposures are shorter. That is why I stress the earthshine phases. They almost exactly coincide with the exposures you will use during totality, although totality may only require a slightly shorter exposure of a stop or two, depending on things we may talk about later. But if you can get proficient at the earthshine shots you will be ready for your eclipse.

D700 500/4 AFS @500mm
Fixed Tripod (probably a Gitzo G1410 but maybe my GT3541LS)
2s f/4 ISO 1600
Lunar age: 2 days 5 hours
Altitude: 8 degrees 9 minutes
Location: Chincoteague NWR, Va.
December 7 2010 5:44pm ET (22:44 U.T.)
Background stars: Just east of the "Handle of the Teapot" in Sagittarius

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 14-Sep-12 06:25 PM
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#9. "RE: How To Practice For a Solar Eclipse..."
In response to Reply # 8
Fri 14-Sep-12 06:26 PM by nrothschild

US
          

Here is another earthshine image, and probably the best I've shot. This was only a 1/2 second exposure at f/4 ISO 1600, yet it's brighter than the preceding. it was also almost 4 degrees higher in altitude and probably in much clearer skies. Just to illustrate why I tried to hedge the exposure recommendation a bit, mentioning variability. This may be about as good as it gets, condition-wise.

The preceding image has about 8 pixels of blur. This would only have about 2 pixels, and that is much of the difference. This is also a 3 day old moon verses the 2 day moon preceding. Time is your enemy here.

D700 500/4 AFS @500mm
Fixed Tripod (probably G1410)
1/2s f/4 ISO 1600
march 18, 2010 8:09pm EDT
Altitude 11 degrees 55 minutes
Lunar Age: 3 days 4 hours

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

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gg987 Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Jun 2012Fri 14-Sep-12 07:11 PM
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#10. "RE: How To Practice For a Solar Eclipse..."
In response to Reply # 9


Encino, US
          

Wow! That is amazing advice! I will need to re-read it several times before Sept 17. One question for now. Won't I need the solar filter prior to and after totality?

Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me. I'm sure I'll have more questions the more times I read it.

Thanks again,
Gail


Gail Goldstein
D8ooE D800
AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 14-Sep-12 09:51 PM
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#11. "RE: How To Practice For a Solar Eclipse..."
In response to Reply # 10
Fri 14-Sep-12 10:04 PM by nrothschild

US
          

Hi Gail,

Yes, you need the filter except during complete totality (Baily's Beads to Baily's Beads).

I would highly encourage you to shoot the thing with one optical configuration, and I am strongly encouraging you not to use a TC. The only change should be the necessary change- the filter swap.

Assuming you are with a large group of people on "an eclipse tour", there will be experienced amateurs or professionals in the group. They will be counting down and announcing the timing until totality.

I would recommend the following procedure:

1. Shoot the ingress of the moon at 600mm with the solar filter on. If you are blessed with clear skies you will have plenty of time to acquire focus and "test it" with the solar filter.

2. About 1-2 minutes before totality, no later and earlier is better, remove the filter and (quickly!) cover the lens. Leave the lens pointing at the sun although it will shift a little. You don't want to lose the neighborhood.

I would suggest building a cardboard "open tuna can", with one side open. This is a disk about a half inch wider than your lens hood with sides about 1-3" long. Longer is better, shorter more portable. Bring a small almost used up roll of masking tape in case of wind, where you will want to tack it down. If you are on a ship you are pretty much guaranteed a 20mph wind.

3. When "Bailey's Beads" are announced, start shooting (without solar filter) and that is a short exposure. With totality firmly entrenched you will then progress to longer exposures if you are able to do so.

4. Totality will last some minutes and then someone may call "Bailey's Beads" again, or otherwise warn that filters need to go back on. This is a very critical time and when eyes are lost. I would get the Bailey's Beads if you want to take the risk, and then I would push the lens away from the sun, and replace the solar filter.

5. At this point you will either have your main images or not, and no going back. I would continue to shoot the egress at 600mm for the reason below, but if you want to experiment with a TC now is the time to do it.

6. If you are not in an organized group or you are spread out on a ship superstructure then you have to wing it as best you can, remembering to save your eyes for a future eclipse. Always safety first. There is always another for those with working eyes.

The idea is that you get your focus nailed down during the ingress and then don't change anything unnecessarily. Don't crack the door to let Murphy in. And for sure don't waste a second of totality swapping optics, reacquiring focus or risking losing focus. Reacquiring focus during totality may not be easy and it will surely be time consuming.

I took another look at your white light image and compared to the images I shot wiht my 3.5" Questar at 1400mm in a practice/shakedown run before the recent Transit of Venus. Plus a few others I've done. I thought they were comparable and I'm supposed to know what I'm doing .

Ideally you want sharp sunspots when shooting white light solar images. In practice it is almost impossible. It is a timing dance. The sun rises in still air but is impaired by atmospherics until it is at least 20-30 degrees altitude and by that time the ground currents are well in place. It's a no win situation.

You can tinker around the margins when shooting sunspots in your backyard but on eclipse day you shoot when it is given to you.

You would likely not have gotten more detail at 600mm and likely even at 400mm. That is the lot of solar photography. For that reason, I would not mess with TC's on eclipse day. You don't need 1200mm for images with various size bites taken out of them and a few almost surely fuzzy sunspots. You don't want to waste your energy. You will be drained by the end of totality.

If you shoot this from a ship I'm not sure what you will face but it won't be pretty. That was a huge decision I made. I got off the ship to shoot from stable land and came within a whisker of missing the whole thing. But so did most of the more experienced folks, including the Pros. And in your case you will likely be out in the middle of the Pacific, not hiding behind the leeward side of an island.

After all the practice with the 600, you may find yourself using the 70-200, so be sure to bring it as backup. In that case you would probably want to use a TC14. And come to think of it, I would get a solar filter for it too. Order now, for some strange reason they tend to be in short supply a week before eclipse days.

I got a couple of very nice 200mm shots even though I was mainly shooting 1400mm on a motorized mount. The 200 rode piggyback on a very overloaded Questar mount. I used the 200 to do a very carefully planned shot that included 2 adjacent planets, a rarity with eclipses.

If I were forced to shoot from a ship I would probably figure on relying on a 200mm or so, the thinking being that even that focal length could be an extreme challenge. The f/2.8 would be very helpful too.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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burchan Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Feb 2012Thu 22-Nov-12 07:01 AM
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#12. "RE: How To Practice For a Solar Eclipse..."
In response to Reply # 10


Sydney, AU
          

Hi Gail
We are keen to know how did you go.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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