Above are photos I took eclipse from downtown Nashville Unfortunately a cloud came and covered up totality but I was able to get the diamond ring and shot of the totality through the cloud.
I could technically have stayed home and would have had 1 minute and 23 seconds of totality but I chose to go north 25 minutes to downtown next to the Nissian Stadium to have 1 minutes and 55 seconds of totality with downtown Nashville as an interesting background in photos.
Though the cloud took a lot of the cool factor away, it was still quite an experience to see the sky become dark and eventually totality. I can’t think of a time that the skyline lit up at 1:28pm. Below is one of the photos I captured.
Downtown Nashville looking at skyline
1 minute 55 seconds of totality
Start of Totality 1:27
End of Totality 1:29
End of eclipse 2:54
Phases of the Eclipse
The eclipse is divided into two main parts – the partial phases and the total phase.
- Partial Phases – The Moon covers only part of the Sun leaving it looking like a crescent that gets thinner as the eclipse progresses until the Moon completely covers the Sun and totality begins. At the end of totality the Sun will begin to peak back out and it will again look like a very thin crescent which will gradually get larger as the Moon moves away from the Sun. The partial phases before and after totality last more than an hour. You must use a safe solar filter to view the Sun during the partial phases!
- Total Phase – The Sun’s photosphere is totally covered by the Moon. This is where the real show is. The total phase of this eclipse will last between about 2 minutes and 2 minutes and 41 seconds depending on your location. Take your filters off for totality – it is safe to look at the Sun now. Be prepared and don’t miss totality! When totality ends be sure to put your solar filters back on.
The times for these events are given as “contact” times for when the limbs of the Sun and Moon meet:
- C1 – First contact. The eclipse starts when the Moon first begins to cover the Sun.
- C2 – Second contact. Totality starts when the Moon completely covers the Sun.
- C3 – Third contact. Totality ends when the surface of the Sun reappears.
- C4 – Fourth contact. The eclipse ends when the entire disk of the Sun is visible again.
Diamond Ring on the Nashville Eclipse before a cloud covers up totality.
To plan for eclipse I used this website a lot for exact timing.
http://xjubier.free.fr/en/site_pages/SolarEclipsesGoogleMaps.html that link has a wealth of past and upcoming eclipse information so you can be in the right spot.
I bought a Helios Glass Threaded Camera Solar Filter from Seymour Solar for my camera so I could take pre-totality photos.
I rented a nice camera from Lensrentals.com Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II and Canon 5D Mark IV
Things to Remember
I got my camera focused then put it on manual focus but apparently after the 3rd photo, everything was out of focus. It got worst as it went on. Since the photos are often seen small and when I took them they looked fine on the camera display but large on a computer it was obvious I was not in focus. One of the best reminders for you and for me next time is to make sure it is in focus.
Things to bring
- Umbrella for shade, in my case it was in the 90’s and humid and I was miserable and sweating but as the eclipse progressed it felt much more comfortable.
- Water and snacks
- Solar filter for camera as well as eclipse glasses that are ISO certified
(copied from http://astropix.com/html/i_astrop/2017_eclipse/Eclipse_2017.html#Exposures)
The exposures in the table below are in seconds for totality with no filter with the Sun reasonably high in a clear sky. Here is a printable PDF of this exposure table.
These exposures are for different eclipse phenomenon shot with a long telephoto lens or telescope. If you go down the line and use every exposure, as illustrated in the exposure sequence section, you can try to put together a high dynamic range composite image showing detail in all parts of the corona.
If you are shooting with a wide-angle lens, you can just shoot totality on automatic-exposure. Be sure to use a tripod.
- Pick your ISO from the column at top left.
- Then read across on that line to your f/stop.
- Then read down for shutter speed.
|Eclipse Exposure Table|
|Partial Phases ND5||1/8000||1/4000||1/2000||1/1000||1/500||1/250|
|Corona 0.1 Rs1||1/2000||1/1000||1/500||1/250||1/125||1/60|
|Corona 0.2 Rs||1/500||1/250||1/125||1/60||1/30||1/15|
|Corona 0.5 Rs||1/125||1/60||1/30||1/15||1/8||1/4|
|Corona 1.0 Rs||1/30||1/15||1/8||1/4||1/2||1|
|Corona 2.0 Rs||1/15||1/8||1/4||1/2||1||2|
|Corona 4.0 Rs||1/4||1/2||1||2||4||8|
|Corona 8.0 Rs||1||2||4||8||16||32|
1. Rs is the corona measured in solar radii. One solar radius is about 700,000 km, 420,000 miles, or 16 arc minutes. The extent of the corona is measured from the tip to tip of the corona across the entire field. So a corona that is 8 solar radii would be stretch about 4 degrees from side to side and would require a 300mm lens.
2. Exposures for the sky background are for two stops under middle gray, what would normally be considered the correct exposure if you exposed according to what your camera meter told you if it was sensitive enough to measure light levels this low. This will produce a dark blue color for the sky. As you can see from the chart, these exposures get ridiculously unusable at high focal ratios.
Important Note: These exposure times are suggested starting points only! Optimum exposures may vary widely based on the eclipse itself, your equipment, and viewing conditions. For example, if you are shooting with a catadioptric mirror lens, the actual transmittance of the lens may be slower than the listed focal ratio so you would need to increase these exposures. If you have thin clouds, haze, smoke, or if the eclipse is at a low elevation in the sky, you will need longer exposures. Your best bet is to use the old professional photographer’s trick of bracketing. Bracketing means taking several different exposures over and under what you think the correct exposure should be. For example, if you thin the correct exposure is 1/500th second, then bracket and take exposures at 1/1000th, 1/500th, and 1/250th second.
For totality, with the Sun high in a clear sky, I suggest starting at the exposure for Baily’s Beads at second contact. Then methodically increase your exposure by one stop increments until you reach your longest exposures at mid-totality. Then start decreasing your exposures, again by one stop increments, until you reach the exposure Baily’s Beads at third contact at the end of totality. You can try increasing your exposure by several stops for the Diamond Ring after third contact.
If the focal ratio of the lens or scope that you plan to use is not exactly at a full f/stop as in the table above, use the Equivalent F/Stops and Intermediate Shutter Speeds in 1/3 stops tables below in the appendix to interpolate the correct shutter speed for your system.
- Xavier Jubier’s Shutter Speed Calculator for Solar Eclipses.
- Bill Kramer’s Eclipse-Chaser’s Exposure Calculator.
- Fred Espenak’s Eclipse Exposure Guide