This year I plan on photographing the Solar Eclipse using Kodak Ektar 100 colour negative film. I scanned the internet for a blog or article on film and the solar eclipse but could not find one. I thought I would venture forth and write one myself for anyone crazy enough to attempt this.
The first choice was what camera to use, that actually came quickly for me as I love my trusty Hasselblad 500CM and decided to use that. There are many other equally as great film cameras, but I wanted to shoot medium format and the 6X6 aspect ration made all the sense in the world to me.
Next was the type of lens choice. i did not have too much extra cash to splurge on this, so I found a relative cost effective way to get to the size lens I wanted. To really do a good job photographing the solar eclipse and filling the 6X6 frame I would need something at 500mm to even get into the game. So i picked up a good used 500mm Tele-Tessar F8 lens and bought a 2x Tele-Convertor to bring it up to 1000mm. I know this loses me some f-stops, but I thought I would give this a go and see what happened.
Next was the most important piece of all; the filter. because I wanted to photograph the lead up as well as the total eclipse i was going to need a good quality filter. For this I used a Star Guy 105-135mm White Light Adjustable Solar Filter. It cost $79.00 plus shipping and is something I can use again if I ever find myself in the path of totality. My first Eclipse was in 1999 and I drove with my buddy Chris from Nottingham in the UK to some random little village in Northern France to get the best shot at taking a photograph. We drove all the way there and when totality happened we had huge clouds wander through and block your view. Fortunately I managed to pick up a photograph that the ferry driver took on his camera and had developed on the ferry.
This year, clouds and weather permitting I hope to be in the right spot at the right time and not miss the experience.
Earlier this month I took a test shot with the above set-up and this is what I got: This photograph was taken using the following settings.
F16 @1/60th of a second using a cable release and sturdy tripod. Be mindful to use mirror lock-up if you have it and be sure to let you camera come to a complete rest before firing the release.
Where I am located I am only going to get 58 seconds of totality and have not metered or tested for this, so I will be shooting blind. All settings I shared on this post are minus the lost f-stops due to the tele-convertors, so please be mindful of that. I think in conclusion I will be shooting somewhere around F11-16 at either 1/60th or 1/125th of second with the filter on during the lead up to the total eclipse and then without the filter during my 58 seconds of totality most likely F8 at 1/30th. I plan on using my digital SLR too and will use the light meter in that to guide my film settings.
I hope this was somewhat helpful to all you film photographers and that you are successful in your quest to get a shot. Please ensure you use a safe and quality filter, there are many eclipses all over the world but only one set of eyes...
Have fun and I will share my results on here as a follow up post.