Capturing the eclipse: camera pro tips to make the moment last

The Great American Eclipse will instantly captivate crowds nationwide, and disappear just as swiftly. But it is possible to make the precious moments of totality last with a camera's help.

Many will turn to professional grade DSLR cameras to preserve the awe-inspiring eclipse. But you can snap fantastic images and videos with something as simple as your phone.

NASA recommends a 12x or 18x zoom lens for your phone to magnify the scene. You'll also want a solar filter for the lens to block harmful UV rays and a tripod to stabilize the shot.

You don't need to spend money to create powerful memories, because as astronomer and science photographer José Francisco Salgado will tell you, the sun isn't the only cool thing to focus on during an eclipse.

Phones are great for capturing wide shots like "how the light gets darker and how people react to it," explained Salgado, who is the executive director for KV 265, a non-profit supporting science communication through the arts.

For up-close eclipse images, he'll rely on a powerful DSLR and 200mm-400mm telephoto lens. If you have a DSLR but don't want to buy another lens, you can get a teleconverter. Salgado said these are much cheaper than telephoto lenses and still magnify the image well.

As with phones, DSLR lenses require solar filters and the whole rig should be fixed to a tripod. For extra stabilty, Salgado recommends a cable release, which allows the photographer to click the shutter without touching the camera itself.

Regardless of your budget, plan ahead. Items will sell out online and you don't want to be fumbling to figure out your new camera attachments mid-eclipse. Practice at the same time of day the eclipse will occur in the week beforehand. That way, you'll know where the sun is positioned and what will be in the surrounding scene.
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