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Old 05-21-2012, 04:55 PM   #1
Modelworks
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Default Photographing the upcoming Venus Transit

I haven't done much astrological type photography so looking for pointers or tips on photographing the upcoming venus transit. The photos are best taken at sunset so that means exposing the cameras sensor to focused direct sunlight. I don't have a lot of spare cash so looking for ways to minimize the damage that direct sunlight can cause and still get some good pics.

If you haven't heard of the venus transit, here is a link, next chance for viewing is 2117.
http://science.nasa.gov/venus-transit/

Last edited by Modelworks; 05-21-2012 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:17 PM   #2
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Don't expose your eyes to direct sunlight either.

What I would do is use live view rather than optical viewfinder, and use filters to darken the sun to protect the sensor. Stack a non circular polarizer in front of your normal circular polarizer. Then you can rotate them relative to each other to block any amount of light you want.

Theoretically you could also view the sun with your eyes if your adjustable sensor is set dark enough, but I wouldn't chance it... UV might still get through, or you could accidentally rotate it wrong, etc.

Maybe you could also place a piece of welding glass in front of your camera.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:21 PM   #3
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Don't take chances with your eyes. Astronomy-grade mylar is super cheap on ebay ($10 for a 4"x4" sheet), or get some #14 welders glass.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:58 PM   #4
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If you have a DSLR, I wouldn't be too worried about damaging the sensor with sunlight. The biggest concerns are prolonged exposures to sunlight which might physically burn the sensor from the light concentrated through the lens, but we're talking really long exposure times which you would normally only use at night. The sensor in an SLR is only exposed for a very short period of time under normal operation. That said, I wouldn't use Live View because this has your sensor constantly exposed to the light.

Also, the sunlight during sunset/sunrise is shone at a less direct angle so much of the light gets diffracted by the atmosphere and clouds. Thus the strength of the sunlight during these times isn't nearly as strong as during midday.

A P&S camera, however, typically always has the sensor exposed so these are much more susceptible to sunlight damage.

The biggest concern should be protecting your eyes, but you can still look through the viewfinder briefly - just don't look directly at the sun in the viewfinder. Look at the environment, focus, and composition of the picture around the sun and try not to look for that long.
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:19 PM   #5
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CDs work pretty well to blocking out enough light for safe viewing.
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:54 AM   #6
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CDs don't block that much light. You can even see a regular lightbulb through a CD
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Old 05-22-2012, 02:57 AM   #7
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I haven't tried it for photography, but I used it for the eclipse and it made viewing it quite comfortable. It's a quite common alternative to getting the eclipse glasses. I would only imagine a fast shutter with a stopped down lens being less sensitive than the retina.
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astroidea View Post
I haven't tried it for photography, but I used it for the eclipse and it made viewing it quite comfortable. It's a quite common alternative to getting the eclipse glasses. I would only imagine a fast shutter with a stopped down lens being less sensitive than the retina.
You could view an eclipse comfortably with no eye protection, and that is the problem. Your eye doesn't detect how bright it is, because it sees mostly darkness with only a sliver of bright. But that sliver will burn your retina.

If you look at the sun intentionally on a normal day, you instinctively close your eyes and look away, but that reflex doesn't happen with an eclipse which makes them dangerous.
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:09 AM   #9
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You could view the sun uneclipsed comfortably with a CD.
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
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You could view the sun uneclipsed comfortably with a CD.
Yes, you could. But it's not the visible light that will destroy your vision. Please don't encourage people to put theirs at risk, especially when safe alternatives are so easily available.
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:54 PM   #11
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Safety guidelines from NASA
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Old 05-25-2012, 02:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
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I stand corrected. Thanks for posting that link.
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Old 05-25-2012, 09:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
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I stand corrected. Thanks for posting that link.
You're very welcome. I'd hate to see anyone lose their sight, even temporarily, when it's so easy to protect yourself.
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Old 05-26-2012, 04:06 AM   #14
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The danger isn't losing your sight, it's burning your retina, which creates a permanent spot in your vision for the rest of your life.
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Old 06-06-2012, 12:42 AM   #15
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Let see some pics! Here's my first attempt at sun photography.

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Old 06-06-2012, 02:13 AM   #16
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I'm no expert, but I like the picture! I'd say it's a job well done, Nohr!
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:19 AM   #17
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Here's another one:

Last edited by sixone; 06-14-2012 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:41 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Necrolezbeast View Post
I'm no expert, but I like the picture! I'd say it's a job well done, Nohr!
Thanks! It came out pretty good considering how unprepared I was.
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:34 PM   #19
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Do you adjust white balance so the sun looks yellow/orange instead of white? Or is the color from the filter?
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:39 AM   #20
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It must be the filter. I didn't adjust the white balance.

No more pics?
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