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

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#76 go4broke

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 02:36 AM

Cheapo 500mm lens.  The lens didn't produce accurate focus.  Next time, I'll use a  good 300mm lens or maybe a 250 to pick up more of the corona, or perhaps a dual-mount with the 300 mm and a longer scope for more detail.

 

Went to Farewell Bend SRA on the Snake River and can't believe my luck.  May have been some thin high moisture in the air when totality occurred, since there were some clouds in the early a.m, but then it cleared.

 

My first total, and I was awestruck like I've never been.  I'm really happy with my pics (except for the focus), since it was my first time, and everything went as planned.  Had the camera set for bracketing +/- one f-stop for each shot, and used my cell phone to connect to the camera and set the exposure and take the shots.  Minimal distraction from the viewing experience.

 

Now I need to go on the Photoshop learning curve...



#77 Exeligmos

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 04:37 PM

The biggest mistake -- if it could be called a big mistake -- was not focusing the binoculars before totality. For some reason, it was difficult to focus properly on the corona. Normally, one can just take a little time to figure it out. I didn't have the time and kind of panicked. For the next one, I'll first focus on Venus or whatever star/planet is conveniently placed and visible before totality.



#78 darthteddy93

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 03:02 AM

My mistake: bringing my telescope. I was hoping to take advantage of the dark skies of wyoming & montana but instead I ended up spending so much time exploring yellowstone and the area that i didn't have much time to even use my telescope. When I did, I wasn't able to find much anyway due to my beginner skills. It made life a little harder than it needed to be but I'm glad I did it anyway since I think had I not brought it, I would've been constantly wishing i brought it. Thankfully it's not that big of a telescope and I was even able to bring it on the plane with me in my backpack

 

Ultimately, for viewing the eclipse itself, my naked eyes & eclipse glasses were good enough. 



#79 REC

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 09:25 AM

The biggest mistake -- if it could be called a big mistake -- was not focusing the binoculars before totality. For some reason, it was difficult to focus properly on the corona. Normally, one can just take a little time to figure it out. I didn't have the time and kind of panicked. For the next one, I'll first focus on Venus or whatever star/planet is conveniently placed and visible before totality.

I had a little of that too with my bino's. I was close to start with, but me, I have ADD and always fiddle. I used Regulous as a hard focus item, but could not get it pin point as I would have liked because of the corona I guess. But, overall the image was pretty clear and so glad I spent 60% of the time in the bino's and 40% naked eye and looking around. Not taking pictures was a good idea in the end. I spent way too much time with my head in the camera in 1998.

 

Come'on 2024!



#80 ZakAttack

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Posted 01 October 2017 - 01:23 AM

This was my first total solar eclipse and I was determined to get some pictures of the corona.  I chose a light setup for mobility:   Quantarray Camera Mount +  ST-80 refractor  + Canon XSi.

 

What did not go right:

(1) My Camera's 8GB memory card filled after the 5th picture taken of the corona. I had planned to take 3 bracketed exposures (or 9 pictures total).

 

(2) After taking off the solar filter, the sun/moon moved out of the field of view because I could not lock down the azimuth on the camera mount due to the high elevation angle. It took a little while to find it, and thank God I did. I also needed my friend to hold the scope in place to keep it from moving.  Next time I will use a motorized equatorial mount.

 

(3) Focusing (prior to totality) was very difficult with this setup due to the sun's glare, the high elevation angle, and my camera's lack of a reticulated Live View screen.  Although I managed to get half-way decent focus, it was not as good as I would have liked.



#81 REC

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Posted 01 October 2017 - 01:45 PM

This was my first total solar eclipse and I was determined to get some pictures of the corona.  I chose a light setup for mobility:   Quantarray Camera Mount +  ST-80 refractor  + Canon XSi.

 

What did not go right:

(1) My Camera's 8GB memory card filled after the 5th picture taken of the corona. I had planned to take 3 bracketed exposures (or 9 pictures total).

 

(2) After taking off the solar filter, the sun/moon moved out of the field of view because I could not lock down the azimuth on the camera mount due to the high elevation angle. It took a little while to find it, and thank God I did. I also needed my friend to hold the scope in place to keep it from moving.  Next time I will use a motorized equatorial mount.

 

(3) Focusing (prior to totality) was very difficult with this setup due to the sun's glare, the high elevation angle, and my camera's lack of a reticulated Live View screen.  Although I managed to get half-way decent focus, it was not as good as I would have liked.

Was that 8GB card new and free of images? I would think you would get a lot more than 5 images, even with a 20 mg camera? Yeah, the sun was very high, 62* here and no way I was going to try my camera without  a tilted LCD. I was just going to try a lighter 50-250 lens, but when I got to the site and it was 96* in the shade, I said no way I was going to fiddle with a camera! Glad I did, just looked at it!



#82 Phillip Creed

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 03:58 PM

For equipment, I brought a Canon T6i, a 115mm f/7 Astro-Tech triplet, a Spectrum full-aperture solar filter, a set of 10x50 Celestron binoculars and my eyepieces.

Plan was to use the AT115 for visual use during the partial phases and then hook up the T6i at prime focus prior to totality and pop the filter off 15 seconds prior to second contact to get the diamond ring.  Since I didn't want to be worried about exposure settings, I shot in video mode.

Many things did go right.  In fact, by looking at the camera's Live View screen (and thus not through an optical viewfinder) I was able to safely see the Diamond Ring effect in real-time.  I'll simply never have the words for that.

Naturally, I made a few tactical blunders that I hope to correct in 6-1/2 years' time (or 21 months if a nice lump sum inexplicably falls in my lap):

 

(1)  I should have been more diligent in focusing the camera.  I got the camera's focus close, but not quite perfect.  The absolutely infernal summer heat from Cross Plains, TN, played a role in that, though, and that will likely not be a factor next go-around (unless I'm in Texas, where it can still get blazing hot even in April).  The slightly defocused result can be seen here (along with all us going nuts at second contact):

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=AHxTKnXKCWE

(2) Whether binoculars or telescope, whatever I use for visual observation next time during totality will be mounted.  I had more difficultly than usual holding a pair of 10x50s steady, though watching something that buries the needle on the Freak Meter will do that.  Next time, I'm thinking a smaller scope on a tripod.

(3)  Definitely less focal length.  I thought about getting the 0.8X focal reducer to clip the focal length down to 644mm, but then again, I'm admittedly not an imager.  Heck I didn't even have a...

(4)  ...tracking mount.  If I'm serious about imaging a solar eclipse next time, I need to invest in one.  I had to periodically nudge the scope to keep imaging the sun.


Clear Skies,

Phil


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#83 CodeBlind

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 03:34 PM

I ended up missing my shots of the trailing diamond ring phase because of user error. I had the following setup:

1. Atlas Pro Az/EQ-G mount, in EQ mode
2. Explore Scientific 127CF APO with full-aperture solar filter for partial phases.
3. Canon 6D DSLR
4. Astro Photography Tool (APT) for partial phase and totality sequences.

Here's what happened.

APT is a fantastic tool, but it's hard to use for solar eclipses for a couple of reasons. While it will let you precisely start a shot sequence at a particular time, it doesn't let you plan exact times for when individual shots are supposed to occur. It also can't guarantee that shots will occur at exact spacing because APT only allows you to plan time between shots - it's very difficult to factor in the amount of time the shot will actually take. So I couldn't just create one master plan and then set it to start at the first instant of partiality (... or maybe it IS possible to do this, but I could never figure out how).

I ended up with three shot plans - two for the partial phases and one for totality. I gave myself 90 seconds between the end of the first partial phases sequence and the beginning of the totality sequence to pop off the solar filter and set the totality plan to start at the specific time for our location. My totality phase plan included a ramp-up of exposures from 1/4000th to 2 sec and back down again, and I rehearsed it several times at home beforehand. The timing was perfect and repeatable. I then packed everything up and made the long drive from New Mexico to Douglas, Wyoming, two days early.

Well, on the day of totality, the leading partial phases went without a hitch. I popped off the solar filter just fine, then configured APT to start the totality plan at the correct time and waited for it to happen. The shutter clicked once just as the leading Diamond Ring happened, but 15 seconds later, I realized the camera wasn't shooting anymore.

I ran back to the computer, only to find that, in my excitement, I accidentally started my second partial phases plan instead of the one for totality. I immediately started the correct plan, and was able to get all of the exposures through the ramp-up portion of the plan, but the ramp-down was ruined. So I lost my trailing diamond ring and Baily's beads sequences.

In the end, I still got all of the planned exposure lengths and came away with an awesome HDR composite of the whole thing. I'm very happy to have done as well as I did, this being my first solar eclipse ever, but next time, I will try to eliminate all sources of human interaction after partiality starts.

#84 REC

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 10:54 AM

For equipment, I brought a Canon T6i, a 115mm f/7 Astro-Tech triplet, a Spectrum full-aperture solar filter, a set of 10x50 Celestron binoculars and my eyepieces.

Plan was to use the AT115 for visual use during the partial phases and then hook up the T6i at prime focus prior to totality and pop the filter off 15 seconds prior to second contact to get the diamond ring.  Since I didn't want to be worried about exposure settings, I shot in video mode.

Many things did go right.  In fact, by looking at the camera's Live View screen (and thus not through an optical viewfinder) I was able to safely see the Diamond Ring effect in real-time.  I'll simply never have the words for that.

Naturally, I made a few tactical blunders that I hope to correct in 6-1/2 years' time (or 21 months if a nice lump sum inexplicably falls in my lap):

 

(1)  I should have been more diligent in focusing the camera.  I got the camera's focus close, but not quite perfect.  The absolutely infernal summer heat from Cross Plains, TN, played a role in that, though, and that will likely not be a factor next go-around (unless I'm in Texas, where it can still get blazing hot even in April).  The slightly defocused result can be seen here (along with all us going nuts at second contact):

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=AHxTKnXKCWE

(2) Whether binoculars or telescope, whatever I use for visual observation next time during totality will be mounted.  I had more difficultly than usual holding a pair of 10x50s steady, though watching something that buries the needle on the Freak Meter will do that.  Next time, I'm thinking a smaller scope on a tripod.

(3)  Definitely less focal length.  I thought about getting the 0.8X focal reducer to clip the focal length down to 644mm, but then again, I'm admittedly not an imager.  Heck I didn't even have a...

(4)  ...tracking mount.  If I'm serious about imaging a solar eclipse next time, I need to invest in one.  I had to periodically nudge the scope to keep imaging the sun.


Clear Skies,

Phil

I brought my Canon T2i, but last minute I decided not to bother taking pictures and just look at it for the entire time. I just have at least took a video of totality to be able to safely see the diamond ring on the live view screen! The intense heat we had really messed with my brain. BTW, I really enjoyed hearing the audio clip and hearing all the OMG's from the kids:)


Edited by REC, 05 November 2017 - 10:55 AM.


#85 ilikeit

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 02:55 PM

I was approx 20 miles west of Huntington, Oregon, just slightly north of the eclipse center line.
Canon T5 camera, WO GT71 scope, AVX mount, Solomark F50 guidescope w/ altered generic webcam using LuSol Guide Software, Camera controlled by 'Eclipse Orchestrator' software.

I practiced extensively before the eclipse and had a gear check off list and a setup check off list so I didn't forget anything.

Ha, forgot to rotate my camera. Everything else worked flawlessly and had great pictures, but missed capturing most of the brighter stars. ugh. (it's now on my check off list for 2024)!




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