Photographing the Solar Eclipse

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ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- We've seen what looking at the eclipse without eye protection can do to our vision, but what about our cameras?

Millions will be photographing the eclipse exactly one week from today and if we plan on snapping a picture at any point during this event we'll want to take some precautions regarding our equipment.

Experts say we should never point a camera at the sun unless it is fitted with a certified solar filter. The only time a filter is not needed is when the sun is completely obscured by the moon during the totality period of the total solar eclipse. There are several types of filters available including a neutral density filter, however many camera manufacturers and even experts at NASA recommend solar filters specifically for our cameras as they are the only filters designed specifically for solar eclipse photography. If you are unsure as to whether you have the correct filter or not, it is best to check with the manufacturer of your camera. You should also never look through the viewfinder of an unfiltered camera, as the optical viewfinder does not protect your eyes from the sun's damaging rays.

Our cell phones, while not as susceptible to damage due to their wide angle lenses, will still require a type of solar filter if you wish to capture the eclipse, especially if you are not in the path of totality (100% coverage). Without a solar filter all you are likely to capture is a giant ball of light. With a solar filter attached you'll be more easily able to capture the true eclipse and a well defined outline of the moon passing in front of the sun.

You can make a quick and inexpensive solar filter for your cell phone camera by simply taking an extra pair of solar viewing glasses and trimming out the solar film portion to place over your camera lens on your phone.