Kansas photographer Bill Stephens shares his tips for capturing this year's total eclipse of the sun in Northeast Kansas.
1. Know how to accurately use the solar filter. Do not attempt photography of the eclipse if you are not experienced in using this filter.
2. Do not use any flash. The moon is 250,000 miles away and your flash only goes about 20 feet. The only effect your flash will have is to ruin the darkness vision of people around you.
3. What about your lens? If your camera accepts other lenses, use at least a 200mm or 300mm lens.
4. Make certain all camera batteries are fully charged and all memory cards are freshly formatted.
5. Turn off autofocus. You will need only to preset your lenses at infinity.
6. Use a tripod. During totality, you will need to change your shutter speed to 1/60th second or slower, and you cannot hand-hold at that speed.
7. There will be much excitement going on all around you as your fellow observers get caught up in the event. Don’t forget to take some photos of them. In fact, I would recommend considering these types of shots as your main focus—you might get some great reaction images without risking your vision.
8. If you are using a DSLR (digital single lens reflex), choose an ISO (sensitivity) setting of 400 or 800 as a starting point. Remember to use a solar filter in front of your lens during your exposure tests.
9. Go RAW. If your camera has the option, use RAW or TIFF format because it allows greater flexibility in adjusting the exposure and color balance when post-processing your images.
Bonus! 10. Share your favorite photographs with us! If you're on social media tag #KansasMag and #NoPlaceLikeKS for a chance to be featured on our official Facebook and/or Instagram page. We might even run it in the magazine!