Safe photography during the solar eclipse: What you need to know
The solar eclipse will have a lot of people looking at the sky on August 21st, so you must protect your eyes.
The solar eclipse will have a lot of people looking at the sky on August 21st, so you must protect your eyes. Even if you plan to take pictures or video, you have to take precautions while looking through the lens or risk permanent damage or blindness.
"You'll have this two and a half minute piece of history recorded that you can show your grandkids," says Channel 3 videographer Bill Buchanan. He has almost 40 years of experience behind the camera and couldn't be more excited about the chance to record a total solar eclipse, which hasn't happened in our area for about six hundred years.
"We live so close to this totality of a solar eclipse that there's no way I'd miss it," adds Buchanan.
Whether you choose to take snapshots or video Buchanan says most modern devices can handle shooting the sun without becoming damaged, unless you get an extreme close up. It's your eyes you should worry about. As soon as the partial eclipse begins, which will be around 1 p.m. eastern time, you need to carefully get ready by first pointing your camera toward the ground.
"You can get your camera close and then move it up there and go THERE IT IS!" exclaims Buchanan. "Now I'm in frame and you can see the bright white dot."
While most cameras can handle the view, your eyes cannot. You have to place a special filter over the lens before the partial eclipse begins. You can buy one of these glass filters online or at some camera shops. It either screws or mounts onto your camera.
Thy can be pricey, costing you at least $50 according to Buchanan, and as much as $150. For a less expensive option, go online and order sheets of paper/mylar filters like the ones used in eclipse glasses. You can cut-to-shape and attach over your lens, even on your smart phone.
During the short-lived total eclipse you can remove your filter, but once the sun starts to peek through again your eyes are in danger.
"As soon as that totality starts to come back away to remove itself, and you see that flashing, you have to put your filters back on," urges Buchanan.
You might think of your eyes as your natural cameras, but if you don't keep them safe during the eclipse you could miss out on future memories.
"You can replace your camera, but you can't replace your eyes," adds Buchanan.
Lens filters are also available for telescopes and binoculars.
Remember, totality won't occur in Chattanooga, meaning the moon will never fully cover the sun. So you'll have to keep your filters on throughout the entire event. The total eclipse, which will be visible from Cleveland, Athens, and Spring City, will occur around 2:30 p.m. eastern time and last for abut a minute to two and half minutes depending on your location.