Saturday, September 8, 2012

Kit for Solar Eclipse in November 2012

Thursday 6th September 2012

I previously mentioned that I had booked my holiday to Port Douglas to watch the total solar eclipse in November. One of the last things that I had to organised for up there was the car hire. That too has been completed. I pick the car up from the airport and have wheels for all the time that I am up there.

Being mobile is going to be key. I want to travel around and understand all the options that I have on the morning. But I suspect in reality I can dream all I want, the day of the eclipse will be chaotic. For some reason they have organised a marathon the same day to coincide. Crazy!

I am still undecided on my final setup for cameras and video. I joined a Yahoo group ( called SEML (Solar Eclipse Mailing List) to seek advice from experts. A number of people replied which was great. All of the feedback was very practical from trying to reduce the complexity of what I was trying to achieve. Rather than going with one tripod I will probably opt for at least two. That way I can split the risk if I bump one versus the other.

Mounting the and pointing a video camera should be easy due to the size and weight. But with the DSLR and a decent size lens I am looking for a gimbal type mount. Manfrotto has one that seems to be reasonably priced. I've included a video that I found on YouTube.

Not entirely sold on using a Manfrotto just yet. Will continue my investigations on that front.

Now to the size of the telephoto lens. There is one site dedicated to eclipse photography that gives a real good indication on the size of the moon/sun (click here). I don't want to be too far away and nor would I look to be too close as the $ of the lens would be too high. So for the moment I've got my eye on the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM. 

Will look to make a decision in the next month for all the kit.