Learn to safely and effectively photograph the total solar eclipse

Published: Jul. 30, 2017 at 3:21 PM CDT
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Professionals call it a once in a lifetime event.

"People that have seen it describe it as awe inspiring, life changing. I have never heard anybody say 'Oh, it was just like I thought it would be,'" says Theo Wellington, the Eclipse Planning Coordinator at the Hardin Planetarium.

On August 21st, the south side of Bowling Green will be one of the lucky cities to experience a total solar eclipse, casting darkness over us in broad daylight.

Western Kentucky University Staff Photographer Clinton Lewis says with such a rare occurrence happening in our backyards, the opportunity to capture the moment digitally will be fleeting; however, with safety in mind you should never look through the view finder of your camera.

"Use the LCD screen and a solar filter that will protect all your elements, and your camera and your eyes."

Transmitting just a mere fraction of visible light through it, the solar filter is a much safer option than neutral density filters. They range in price from $20 all the way up to hundreds of dollars, but the filter alone is not enough to make the most of Totality.

Standing on the WKU Ag Farm, Lewis says your experience will be heavily dependent on your choice of location.

"This is really a great spot because there are so many open fields."

While a partial eclipse will be visible nearly all over the United States, Hardin Planetarium has made L.T. Smith Stadium available to school systems just outside the path of totality, insisting even 99 percent visibility on the North side of Bowling Green isn't good enough.

"There are two things that really get kids going with science: dinosaurs and space. I don't have dinosaurs, but space we can do."

NASA says Hopkinsville will have the longest viewing time of two minutes and 40 seconds.

The eclipse passes through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and South Carolina.