Video: Partial Solar Eclipse – 20 March 2015


So I decided to try and capture the eclipse today. This was a last minute idea and I’ve never done time-lapse with my cameras, let alone used them tethered to the Macbook…

Plan A was that I originally set up a Canon 5D MkII mounted on a hefty tripod with my huge 300mm f/2.8, and set it to ISO 100, f/32 and 1/8000 sec. This was fired off using the EOS Utility software at 20 sec intervals. It all went fine until two things started happening… 1) the sun was (obviously!) going to move from left to right and arcing upwards, meaning that 2) I had to adjust the camera to keep it in frame. Half way though, the camera started to shift and it all got a bit complicated. Enough said, but luckily I was already switching over to Plan B…

Plan B was a Canon 1D MkIV on a regular tripod with a 200mm f/2.8 with the same settings as before, i.e. ISO 100, f/32, 1/8000s. Except this lens also had a Polarising Filer adding a couple of stops to the shot and darkening it down a little more. Much better in terms of managing the camera and exposure, but still had to deal with panning the camera to keep the sun in shot.

Taking all the shots into Lightroom, I decided on a set of images from ‘Plan B’ and then took them down a further 2 stops in exposure, and cropped to try and get a square frame with a reasonable sized sun in the middle. Exporting those at 1024px and bringing it into iMovie, I made the above video out of around 80 frames of 0.1s duration with a crossover of 0.2s.

Lesson Learned – I should have tested it all the day before!!! It would have given me the experience on how far/fast the sun will move, which lens works best, and on which tripod. Oh well, I have 17 more years to practice before the next one!!!!


About Ian 263 Articles
Ian is a Freelance concert photographer based in Switzerland specializing in live music and band photography. Since 2008 he has supplied images to publications and artists around the world.