How To Take Non-Crap Pictures Of The Total Eclipse On Your Phone

 Rule #1: Protect your peepers!

Rule #1: Protect your peepers!

It's going to break Instagram, and here's how you can make sure your photo stands out from all the other blurry blobs.

Turn around, bright eyes: The total solar eclipse imminently arriving to the United States! At 8:45 a.m. PST on Monday, August 21, the moon is going to shimmy right in front of the sun and steal the stage for a hot minute (or two minutes and 40 seconds, if you’re want to be precise). 

This marks the first contiguous solar eclipse in 38 years, so naturally people are extremely excited about it (including astrologers) and considering its the first total eclipse since the advent of Instagram, you better believe people are trying to figure out how they can turn it into “content.”

But here’s the thing, space explorers: You’re really not going to capture something super rad with your smartphone on its own. The most spectacular shots are going to be taken on a camera-camera, because smartphones simply aren’t equipped to deal with an object this long-range and with such a specific lighting context. 

But there are things you can do to juice up your smartphone shot. Check out following tips from NASA astronomer Sten Odenwald, so you’re prepared to live your best #solareclipse life come Monday morning (and feel free to read the full 12 pages if you’re being extra about it).

Oh, and most importantly: Make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to protect your peepers in the process, because the cosmos don’t mess around.

  • Cover your smartphone camera lens with a solar filter of some sort. If you’ve got a pair of ISO-Certified protective eye glasses, using those in front of your lens should do the trick.|
  • Download an app like Adobe Lightroom that will allow you to manually adjust exposure speed so you can adjust for the low light. 
  • Slowing the shutter speed will require you to eliminate all extra motion. Pick up a tripod so you can keep the camera completely steady.
  • Don’t rely on autofocus; bust out that tapping finger to make sure the focus is on the moon when the moment arrives.
  • Even better, pick up a zoom lens attachment, which will allow you to get a way better close-up. 
  • Or experiment with binoculars. During totality, try positioning your smartphone against the eyepiece—the key again is to make sure there’s zero motion with your rig, so figure out how you’re going to stabilize both your smartphone and the binoculars beforehand. Good luck!
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Words: Deena Drewis
Photo: GIPHY