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for those who used equipment, what mistakes did you make?

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#26 joseph07081

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 06:20 AM

1: location, location, location. St. Joseph was on and off rain, with steady rain stopping just before the main event. I had my equipment set up and tore down 3 different times before I finally gave up. My girlfriend caught about 3 seconds of video of diamond ring through a small hole in the clouds. Next time taking more rain gear :(



#27 Tim in GA

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 06:22 AM

My biggest mistake was trying to capture too much. Two DSLR's and one small camera for HD video. One DSLR with the telephoto was automated so all I had to do was take the filter off at the right time and keep the sun in the frame (it was on a fixed tripod). But I also had another DSLR with a super-wide angle lens and those photos didn't really work out. And the video was worthless as the camera couldn't focus on anything and I was late starting the video. Once totality happened I was just too awestruck to remember anything. Next time I think I'll just watch.



#28 Rickycardo

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 07:22 AM

I feel if you can't automate then just don't do it. I ran 2 cameras, 1 using EO on an 80mm refractor and 1 piggy backed with a 250mm lens using BYEOS. I used EO to time everything and I launched my BYE script at 30 seconds out according to EO. Even then I had filters to remove and still trying to enjoy the eclipse. Lots could go wrong but fortunately for me not a lot did. I will image the next one but my plan is to simplify my setup.

I also plan to be in totality before eclipse day. I want to setup and align the night before.


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#29 Dartguy

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 08:35 AM

I decided to take my C5 at the last minute.  I only have a very cheap tripod that I used that is not enough to handle the scope.  I also took my C8 solar filter and was planning to tape it to the C5.  After setting it up, I went to the case to get an eyepiece and diagonal and realized I forgot to bring a visual back.  I tried to rig up something but could not reach focus.

 

Honestly I am happy that happened, because I just used the Nikon binos with the C8 filter and watched the whole thing.  


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#30 Alien Observatory

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 08:51 AM

 

Weeks of planning and rehearsing.  I had a small 61mm Apo on a Star Adventurer mount and Canon 7D being controlled by SEM on a Macbook pro (6months old).  Worked beautifully at home in full summer heat during several rehearsals.  Around C1 + 15 minutes it suddenly shuts off.  I think it overheated. Brought it inside and let it cool off and it fired up after a while.  I waited until 10 minutes before C2 to set it up again.  Everything was going well.....then the excitement and emotions took over.  I heard the camera clicking away and was comforted as I sat there with my wife and daughter in awe!!  Then silence...the computer died again.  No matter it captured through Max eclipse.........then that brilliant pure white light shot out from behind the moon.  I was just completely breathless.  What an event....what an experience......

 

I sat up and looked around.......  I FORGOT TO TAKE THE FILTER OFF!!!!!!!!!! WHAAAAAAAA!!!!!!   I have perhaps the tiniest sliver filtered shot ever taken and dozens of pure black images bawling.gif bawling.gif bawling.gif

 

Luckily I had a full frame canon with a 14mm lens firing a frame per second and that worked well.  My friend had "crazily" put magic lantern on his canon with a 300mm lens the night before at 2am after I told him about the program.  Thank goodness....it worked like a charm and we have at least those images to play with.

 

Still what a memorable and incredible day!

I was hoping I was the only one....

 

Me too...Lost one minute of totality (on video) got the last minute or so...an else went pretty smooth...Pat Utah



#31 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 08:51 AM

I brought along far too much gear - a mounted 15x70 binocular, a Solarscope, a Coronado PST, two 80mm refractors, a 101mm refractor, two cameras, and a camcorder.  Setting up and especially tearing down everything in what was eventually 90 degree plus heat was no fun.  I was feeling very poorly by the end.

 

Dave Mitsky



#32 QueueCT

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 09:37 AM

Biggest mistake was having my AT66 slip off the dovetail and hit the ground ... no significant damage but concerned that the scope was out of collimation. It was a bit comical having it on a CGEM ... mount overkill but it was rock solid.

 

Used Solar Eclipse Maestro to automate and that was a lifesaver. Could simply sit back and enjoy the show.

 

Other issues:

  • Did a "good enough" polar alignment but still had drift in the frame. Took about two hours for the sun to transit the frame but had to adjust every 15 mins or so to keep things centered reasonably well
  • Didn't refocus prior to totality ... don't think it made too much of a difference. Lens alignment from the drop prevented tack sharp focus
  • Exposure was a bit too high for diamond ring and Bailey's Beads

Next time I'll use (or rent) a high end prime focus lens for my camera body.


Edited by QueueCT, 23 August 2017 - 09:37 AM.


#33 jrsm

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:34 AM

Less focal length.  ED 80 with .85 reducer/flattener.   Make sure that all lenses are as clean as possible.  Not enough cameras....Wide angle sequence worked fairly well but a camera on the ST80 or even a 200mm  would have helped.  

 

I simplified my setup.  Originally I was going to use a computer control for the mount and camera.  I ended up using the auto-bracketing feature on the camera 5 shots +/- 2 stops with the built in intervalometer set for 5 seconds.  I did adjust the shutter speed just after totality. 

 

I didn't polar align the mount.  I did set it up a few days before, but did make sure polaris was in a similar position in the scope to the polar finder clock.   It was enough to keep the sun in the center of the frame for a few hours.  Ran the mount on a 12 volt car battery.

 

The other camera was a wide angle with a remote interval timer also set for 5 seconds.  Camera on auto exposure -! stop compensation, spot meter on the sky which seemed to work reasonably well.  It did require a bit of work to bring up the moon during totality but on the whole was pleased with the results. 



#34 Drew57

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 11:33 AM

I did some basic setup on iEQ30 Pro Sunday afternoon, but it was super hot and humid so decided to skip a polar alignment and go have supper and some fun instead. Final assembly & settings went perfect, but the plastic bag "rain cover" was tested to limit...it rained very heavily. Surprise! The mount didn't fry electrically and needed only a few minor tweaks with slew throughout event to keep Sol framed nicely. Mack The Newt (ES Comet Hunter) performed flawlessly at 24X with ES 82o 30mm EP.

 

C90 MAK on tripod/fluid video head required frequent centering, if you didn't keep up it was bit of hassle to re-center...need a RA finder for it.

 

Olympus TG-4 on HD video duty several minutes either side of totality captured the overall scene, but results were underwhelming. 

 

Should have kicked the cellphones off the eyepiece and had ONLY eye time through the scope during totality. Should have spent less time managing the equipment, people and safety; more looking through the Comet Hunter myself, but had more people than anticipated so felt responsible.

 

Underestimated the Power of Totality...I'm Hooked!



#35 Zebenelgenubi

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 11:57 AM

I had one serious (but recoverable) error.  I had planned to image the event using computer generated exposure commands using the SETnC software package. The SETnC software worked flawlessly (  much thanks to Robert Nufer who wrote the program and made it available to the public).  No my problem was with old reliable BYEOS.  I have been using BYEOS for deep sky and planetary imaging for yes without a problem.  I planned to use BYEOS to do the initial framing and focusing for the exposures for the SETnC imaging.  I had practiced the BYEOS and SETnC at least a half dozen times and thing always worked flawlessly.

 

In the middle of nowhere in Nebraska I tried to load BYEOS a half hour before C2.  Instead of loading the program gave me a license validation error and requested that I enter a password to resolve the error???  I had never had to use a password with BYEOS.  I went through the procedure three days before and the program loaded.  What the %$#& ?  What %#&@ password ? 

 

I ended up focusing the image the best I could on the camera display and my wife's reading glasses.  The focus turned out fine.

 

Later at the hotel I experimented with BYEOS to find that I got the license validation error only when the my computer date/time was set to Universal Time.  The program loads every time if the date/time is set to local daylight savings time.  What kind of software license restricts uses to specific time zones?  I have written to O'telescopes who distribute BYEOS but haven't yet gotten a response.  BTW the SETnC images look wonderful



#36 WilburTWildcat

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 01:45 PM

I used a DSLR and 10.5mm fisheye lense with a solar filter over top. I expected to be able to collect a progression of the eclipse, then remove the filter for totality, then stitch everything together in photoshop.

 

I did testing the day before for exposures under the filter. In the end, I left the ISO too low for totality and the exposure was just too fast to capture to capture much of the sun's disc after about 50% coverage. 

 

In hindsight, I also feel that 10.5mm was just too wide. 18mm would've even been ok. While I had my heart set on the progression shot, that amount of exposure adjustment was likely too much to be done without some kind of computer control program for advanced planning. I should've just shot totality with a whole bunch of brackets.

 

Oh well, 30 seconds of totality wasted.



#37 REC

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 02:06 PM

One of the guys in are group, must have had over $10k worth of equipment set up. He was using the eclipse program recommenced on this forum, don't remember it's name and controlled 3 cameras from his laptop. It was one of those automated programs that would control the exposures ect. He has been to 5 eclipses, so he knows what he's doing. He was also our group leader and would let us know when totality would start and count down during totality. Well, he told me the next day that something went wrong at the last minute and did not get any pictures at all! I was amazed at that and felt so badly for the guy. Maybe he got some shots with another camera, but not the main event. frown.gif



#38 QueueCT

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 02:21 PM

One of the guys in are group, must have had over $10k worth of equipment set up. He was using the eclipse program recommenced on this forum, don't remember it's name and controlled 3 cameras from his laptop. It was one of those automated programs that would control the exposures ect. He has been to 5 eclipses, so he knows what he's doing. He was also our group leader and would let us know when totality would start and count down during totality. Well, he told me the next day that something went wrong at the last minute and did not get any pictures at all! I was amazed at that and felt so badly for the guy. Maybe he got some shots with another camera, but not the main event. frown.gif

That was my nightmare but I kept repeating two things: 1. This is a dry run for 2024, and most importantly 2. If I didn't get any pictures at all it was still an amazing experience and well worth the trip.


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#39 ncwolfie

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 02:25 PM

I had one serious (but recoverable) error.  I had planned to image the event using computer generated exposure commands using the SETnC software package. The SETnC software worked flawlessly (  much thanks to Robert Nufer who wrote the program and made it available to the public).  No my problem was with old reliable BYEOS.  I have been using BYEOS for deep sky and planetary imaging for yes without a problem.  I planned to use BYEOS to do the initial framing and focusing for the exposures for the SETnC imaging.  I had practiced the BYEOS and SETnC at least a half dozen times and thing always worked flawlessly.

 

In the middle of nowhere in Nebraska I tried to load BYEOS a half hour before C2.  Instead of loading the program gave me a license validation error and requested that I enter a password to resolve the error???  I had never had to use a password with BYEOS.  I went through the procedure three days before and the program loaded.  What the %$#& ?  What %#&@ password ? 

 

I ended up focusing the image the best I could on the camera display and my wife's reading glasses.  The focus turned out fine.

 

Later at the hotel I experimented with BYEOS to find that I got the license validation error only when the my computer date/time was set to Universal Time.  The program loads every time if the date/time is set to local daylight savings time.  What kind of software license restricts uses to specific time zones?  I have written to O'telescopes who distribute BYEOS but haven't yet gotten a response.  BTW the SETnC images look wonderful

I got the same exact error with BYEOS. Luckily I knew the code to put in but it was annoying. But the real problem occurred about 3 minutes before totality when my mount crashed and I was no longer able to track. Everything went pretty well up to that point.

 

Regards,

Randy


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#40 demare

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 02:28 PM

Poor exposure when removing the filter just before totality. Bad overexposure. Not enough time to diagnose and enjoy the experience.



#41 xiando

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 02:28 PM

Attempting to image using my cell phone in hand, with a filter from the cardboard glasses and the lens from my normal sunglasses to reduce overexposure. What most (including me) would call "an epic fail" lol.gif


Edited by xiando, 23 August 2017 - 02:29 PM.


#42 Jgoldader

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 02:36 PM

1. Didn't realize until too late (i.e., after I'd bought everything) that the smaller-than-35mm-film Canon EOS APS-C sensors would combine with the f/6 focal reducer on my f/10 telescope to give... an f/10 field of view.

 

2. Thought elder son could handle an SLR with telephoto to get wide-field images during totality to complement the telescope views (he insisted, though I offered many times to do it myself).  He aimed the SLR (with solar filter on) about 10 minutes before totality, didn't realize the Sun moved as far as it did, and never rechecked the pointing.  About a minute into totality, I heard, "Dad, I'm not getting anything here..." I got over and was able to point at the Sun, but didn't check the focus, which had also drifted, so now I'm looking for deconvolution software, ugh.  Gonna cost me $100 to salvage his images I think.

 

3. One mistake I did NOT make was to rely on Solar Eclipse Maestro.  What an amazing piece of software!  Money going Javier's way soon.

 

4. For next time (hopefully 2024) I'm going to travel light, no more 13 hour (each way) drives.  I'm going to get a refractor of 400mm or so, something like the Stellarvue SV70T or Tele Vue TV-60, and use that on a regular tripod, so I can take a plane to the eclipse.  It'll cost more, but that drive just about killed us.



#43 Hawkdl2

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 03:13 PM

I shot the event with a Nikon D800 and a 300mm f/4 lens with 1.4x tele on an iOptron Skytracker with imaging controlled by Nikon's Capture Pro software.  I must have ran through my planned settings changes between the partial eclipse and totality two dozen times in the previous week and on Sunday with never a problem - I never made a mistake.  The plan was to go from single exposures ever y3 minutes to 9-bracketed exposures at 17 sec intervals during the totality.  The problem is the software is a bit quirky and settings have to be reset every time, and I completely forgot to set the bracketing to 9 images on the plus side and it defaulted to 3 shots around the set point.  I thought I had missed everything! Fortunately, the shots I got at the settings I inadvertently used look to be more than adequate to get a very nice final processed image.  More of a narrow miss, but it caused a lot of anxiety until I could review the images.



#44 QueueCT

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 03:17 PM

3. One mistake I did NOT make was to rely on Solar Eclipse Maestro.  What an amazing piece of software!  Money going Javier's way soon.

Couldn't agree more with this.


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#45 bunyon

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 03:38 PM

I had one serious (but recoverable) error.  I had planned to image the event using computer generated exposure commands using the SETnC software package. The SETnC software worked flawlessly (  much thanks to Robert Nufer who wrote the program and made it available to the public).  No my problem was with old reliable BYEOS.  I have been using BYEOS for deep sky and planetary imaging for yes without a problem.  I planned to use BYEOS to do the initial framing and focusing for the exposures for the SETnC imaging.  I had practiced the BYEOS and SETnC at least a half dozen times and thing always worked flawlessly.

 

In the middle of nowhere in Nebraska I tried to load BYEOS a half hour before C2.  Instead of loading the program gave me a license validation error and requested that I enter a password to resolve the error???  I had never had to use a password with BYEOS.  I went through the procedure three days before and the program loaded.  What the %$#& ?  What %#&@ password ? 

 

I ended up focusing the image the best I could on the camera display and my wife's reading glasses.  The focus turned out fine.

 

Later at the hotel I experimented with BYEOS to find that I got the license validation error only when the my computer date/time was set to Universal Time.  The program loads every time if the date/time is set to local daylight savings time.  What kind of software license restricts uses to specific time zones?  I have written to O'telescopes who distribute BYEOS but haven't yet gotten a response.  BTW the SETnC images look wonderful

That explains it. I had the same thing happen but my computer remembered the license key so I only had to guess at the login name.  Of course, that created a tense few minutes but it turned out to be my email address.  

 

You definitely need to have a license key entered but it should be a one time deal.  



#46 Bill G.

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 04:36 PM

Though I had it all set.....When attaching the camera the 2" to t-thread adapter, it wouldn't tighten properly despite repeated tries. Finally thought it was good. Just more than halfway through the eclipse (past total) I saw that the adapter had slipped a mm or so. Focus was slightly off. Got some good pics but the ones showing the flares are disappointing.  Had a second stup that would've worked. Had the time but didn't change. Big mistake!

 

When I tested my rig a month or so ago. I did not use a 2" diagonal. When I tried it before the eclipse, it would not reach focus. Had to do things a lot different which probably contributed to the first problem.

 

What I did do right.......concentrated on viewing rather than photograph. Didn't want to make the same mistake I made in 1979! Also used bracketing with a fairly large exposure variation. Was surprised to see  how many differences were visible in the different exposures.

 

Next time!



#47 Chris Boar

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 04:40 PM

Forgetting to put the solar filter back on my refractor after totality....remembered about a minute later!


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#48 Solnze

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 05:45 PM

The idea was to video the totality with one camera and to  take time lapses  with two others. I thought I'd put all cameras on tripods and will enjoy the totality. I created the schedule:

1. 10 minutes or so before the totality start video on the first camera.

2. Start time lapse on another.

3. Start time lapse on the third.

 

#1 and #2 went as planned, but then my first camera turned itself off.   I have never used it with tripod to take a video before, and I did not realize that if left alone, it will turn off.

At  that point I decided not to proceed with #2. but get back to #1 instead. Well, it was too late to look for the sun, and I ended up with taking a few quick clips and shots with hand-held camera.. The clips are really bad, and shaky,the pictures are hardly any better, but the worst thing was that yet another time instead of enjoying the eclipse I was busy with my cameras..

 

Here's what I was left with  https://www.youtube....h?v=I8DISrOBGC0


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#49 seawolfe

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 09:28 PM

For me it was not enough time to practice, SO....when totality hit, I placed my camera back into "auto mode".  While I got some nice corona shots, the edge of the moon / sun was a purple ring instead of a crisp edge with solar proms.

 

IF I had had the money, I would have had a focal reducer for my Edge 8 and then could have gotten the full solar disk with my DSLR.  Since I didn't have that, I mounted my DSLR with my 300mm zoom piggy back onto my Edge 8 and too pics that way.  the solar disk is way too small for any detail to my dismay.

 

BUT, this was my first total eclipse.  I knew from the partial eclipse we had in the Seattle area back in 2014, that if I wanted the corona, I would either have to order a focal reducer, which were unavailable until almost before this total eclipse and more than my budget could afford as I spent my budget preparing for the trip.

 

Lessons learned!



#50 W9GFO

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:14 PM

I think it was Friday that I discovered that only one of my three Nikons would work with Solar Eclipse Maestro. They are all on the supported list but despite spending a few hours updating firmware and researching the problem, still could not get it to work. So I mostly gave up on using it, I figured I could handle one camera manually. The mistake was that I should have still used it for one camera and manually controlled the other. 

 

Another mistake was yawing the drone halfway through totality in hopes of "following" the shadow. I should have just left it pointing the same direction - and I should have flown it a half mile further away so as to capture the campground below in the frame.

 

It's all good though, I knew that my chances of getting good images were pretty low, yet still managed to get something worth looking at.




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