There will be a partial solar eclipse tomorrow visible from Europe, Africa, Asia. I'm looking for photography tips. Looking for ideas for a typical amateur photographer but also for someone having a telescope.

Posting your photos after the eclipse would be a great bonus.

  • How to? Not at all. I had a look at the nice clouds and let the ND-filters rest in their case :D
    – Leonidas
    Jan 4, 2011 at 11:51

6 Answers 6


If you don't have a solar filter, the standard way to protect yourself when viewing a solar eclipse is to project the image via a lens or even a pinhole onto a suitable background. Why not set up a rig in which you use, say, an old camera lens projecting the image onto matte paper in the back of a darkened box and photograph that image? Fred Espenak briefly describes this approach in a Web article on solar eclipse photography. You can experiment today on an uneclipsed image of the sun. On another site there's also a curious pinhole camera setup illustration that is provided without comments. The "lens" is a precise pinhole in stiff metal foil mounted to a camera body cap. It looks easy and cheap to make. Starting out with a dense ND filter in front of this rig (or maybe a crossed pair of polarizing filters) might be advisable to avoid damage to a digital sensor.

  • Binocular works too for projecting on a sheet of paper.
    – Leonidas
    Jan 4, 2011 at 0:16
  • @Leonidas Yes, good idea. For high quality, photographers may prefer to use a decent lens. (Unless the binoculars are extremely good, they will exhibit visible chromatic aberration.)
    – whuber
    Jan 4, 2011 at 0:37
  • 2
    Edmunds Scientific sells a T-mount pinhole setup (very precise pinholes of various sizes on exchangeable plates, minimum diffraction for the species, and controllable/predictable "focal lengths" and therefore controllable/predictable relative apertures). A little late for this past event, but it's a reasonable kit for next time and a bit of effects adventuring in the meantime.
    – user2719
    Jan 5, 2011 at 4:00

You'll definitely want to get some type of Solar Filter, otherwise, since this is a partial eclipse, it could damage your eyes, camera, or telescope.


One really cool thing to do in a solar eclipse is look at the shadows cast from small dots, like the small gaps in leaves. Normally, they will be circle shaped, in an eclipse, they will look crescent shaped. Look for similar phenomena around you, and good luck!

Oh, definitely get a solar filter of some kind, if you can, or it could damage your eyes and camera...


Unfortuneatly, it'll probably be before you can get to a store, but you need a very powerful neutral density filter, so that you can point your camera directly at the sun.

Around the time of the last total eclipse and also for the transit of venus in 2004 there were disposable "glasses" on several magazines that could be held in front of a lens for a cheap option - then you can cheat and use exposure compensation to get you camera to think the scene is darker than it is by a couple of stops (or use spot metering if your camera supports it)


Well if you use a telephoto lens the sunlight will cover most of the sensor thus imo you definitely need some sort of filter, since stopping down too much would induce errors. Good luck!

  • 1
    What kinds of "errors" are induced by stopping down? (Never mind that no camera can, without the aid of a filter, cover the 17 stops needed to expose the sun directly...)
    – whuber
    Jan 4, 2011 at 16:22

If you do not have a solar filter, you may stick a piece of 35mm film (or two pieces, if the sun is very bright) film in the front of the lens. This, however, means that you should not look through the viewfinder, as the film will not block the infrared radiation.

Using this method, I got the picture below (after a bit of color correction in GIMP). I used Helios 58mm lens on a 1.6x crop DSLR.


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