August 19: Eclipse Cloud Prediction from the Washington Post

It is looking iffy in the hinterland right now, but don’t give up all hope just yet. The Washington Post says their overall forecast confidence is “medium” two days ahead of the big event. The confidence level will go up as we get closer to the eclipse. They are posting a new prediction every day. If you have a flexible schedule you can still change your eclipse travel plans to head to a less cloudy place. That is my plan. This will be my last update of the Washington Post eclipse forecast.

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Keeping Track of Eclipse Weather at Multiple Possible Locations

The August 21 forecast for four prime eclipse cities as of 2 pm August 16, 2017.

If you have the flexibility to travel to any of several prime eclipse locations it is getting harder and harder to keep track of the eclipse weather and make a final location decision. The forecast is changing daily for several locations. My process for making a final location decision might be helpful to you as you make your final eclipse plans.

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The Field of View Crop in DSLRs

Image circle with full frame and cropped sensor marks.

The sensors in many digital SLRs (DSLRs) are smaller than a full frame digital sensor which is about the size of 35mm film (24x36mm). When a lens that was originally designed for a full frame digital sensor is put on a cropped sensor camera body, the field of view is different. The image created looks like the focal length of the lens has been magnified so this is sometimes called the “magnification factor”.  A 100mm lens on a digital camera with a 1.6x magnification factor produces an image that looks like a 160mm lens on a “full frame” DSLR or 35mm film camera.

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August 14 Update: Safe Eclipse Glasses, Binoculars, and Solar Filters

SUNoculars (solar binoculars) and Mini SUNoculars from Great American Eclipse.

Most vendors of safe, approved eclipse glasses, binoculars, and solar filters are out of stock, but there are a few left. Links to buy them follow.

Update August 19. As of 10 am today (EDT) the only item in this article that you can still order is eclipse glasses from Lunt Solar Systems and fulfilled by Amazon. Unfortunately they can not be delivered until August 21 which could be after the eclipse is over. If you want to try anyway: Order here. Choose “Available from these sellers” and then choose Lunt Solar Systems. Lunt Solar Systems is on the list of AAS approved vendors.

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State by State Eclipse Totality Maps

Totality Map 1 – Oregon

Eclipse totality maps from Oregon to South Carolina. If you have to make some big changes in your preferred eclipse location based on last minute weather changes, you will need a quick way to find an alternate location. These maps will be a big help. Just stay between the red lines and the closer you are to the blue line the longer totality will last. Click each map for a larger version.

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Be Careful When Buying Eclipse Materials! Amazon Changes Links from Safe, AAS Approved Vendors to Non-Approved Vendors.

The “Sold By” line at Amazon. AgenaAstro is on the AAS list of approved, reputable vendors.

This is not good. Amazon takes links that used to take you companies on the AAS list of safe approved, reputable vendors of eclipse materials, and switches them to companies that are not on the AAS approved list. This is dangerous for your eyes.

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Should You Buy a Thousand Oaks Optical Filter Sheet from “Rix Beauty” (or Any Other Non-Approved Vendor) at Amazon?

Screen capture at Amazon.

Should you buy a Thousand Oaks Optical filter sheet from “Rix Beauty” (or any other non-approved vendor) at Amazon? For now, my advice is no. Why? Several reasons. The most important is you have no idea if the filter sheet was actually made by Thousand Oaks Optical, or if it is a fake. This also applies to all the other eclipse products at Amazon that are sold by non-approved vendors.

Originally posted August 6, 2017. Updated with new information August 8, 2017.

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You Can Make Your Own Inexpensive “High Density” Filter To Photograph the Eclipse

Baader Solar Eclipse Material

You can make your own inexpensive high density filter to photograph the eclipse. But there is a catch. It is not safe to use to look at the sun, and you should not look through the viewfinder of the camera because you could go blind or suffer serious, permanent eye damage.

Originally posted August 6, 2017. Revised and expanded August 14, 2017.

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You Can Still Buy Safe Solar Eclipse Glasses if You Act Now!

It is getting very hard to find safe solar eclipse glasses that comply with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. A week ago I found ten safe vendors of solar eclipse viewing and photography products. Nine of those vendors are now out of stock. The good news is the David Chandler Company has them in stock so you can order now with no delays.

Originally posted August 5, 2017. Updated August 8, 2017.

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How to Use a Planisphere

Even in a digital age with fancy apps for your smart phone, tablet, and computer, a planisphere is a handy, low tech tool to have. It is a map of the night sky to show you what is up there based on the date and the time of night you choose.

Originally posted August 4, 2017. Revised August 8, 2017.

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Peace Now! Quiet Shutter Photography

I am so pleased to share this video featuring the excellent images of Quiet Shutter Photography (Winnie and Bill Johnston). Winnie is the person who kept bugging me to bring my total immersion nature photography workshop to the campground they manage on the shores of beautiful Lake Charlevoix in Northern Michigan.

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Unsafe Counterfeit Solar Eclipse Glasses Are Flooding Amazon and Other Online Markets

Celestron eclipse glasses and binoculars.

Celestron eclipse glasses and binoculars that are safe for viewing the sun.

This article could save your sight. If you bought solar eclipse glasses recently from Amazon, they could be fake and unsafe, even if they have the ISO certification printed on the glasses. You should throw them away.

It is very dangerous out there for buyers of solar eclipse glasses, as in dangerous for their eyes. The American Astronomical Society says “the marketplace is being flooded by counterfeit eclipse glasses that are labeled as if they’re ISO-compliant when in fact they are not.” Quartz is reporting “Solar-eclipse fever means counterfeit glasses are flooding Amazon’s market”. That means it is no longer safe to order solar eclipse glasses from Amazon or other third party web sites. You have no way of knowing if the glasses are safe or not. So what should you do?

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Last Chance To Get A Solar Filter to View or Photograph the Eclipse!

White Light Solar Filters

UPDATE August 4: Read this important article first: Unsafe Counterfeit Solar Eclipse Glasses Are Flooding Amazon and Other Online Markets

UPDATE August 3:  I found another source of safe solar eclipse glasses. See below.

UPDATE August 3: Fake Eclipse Viewer Certification. See below.

This is your last chance. The bad news is almost all of the solar filters that are safe for viewing and photographing the Great American Eclipse (August 21) are now sold out at dealers all across the country. Only a few safe options are left. If you want to photograph the eclipse there is only one inexpensive option left (less than several hundred dollars).

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Local Eclipse Calculators

If you want to know when the Great American Eclipse begins, reaches totality, and ends from the location of your choice, you need a local eclipse calculator. This article shows you two simple calculators and one GPS calculator.

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How to Photograph the Sun (and an Eclipse) with a “White Light” Solar Filter

The Sun photographed with a White Light solar filter.

Unlike most other solar filters, a “white light” solar filter from Thousand Oaks Optical is visually safe (which is really important) and gives you a true color, yellow-amber looking sun (saving you processing time). A white light solar filter also makes it simpler and faster to photograph the sun.

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How Do You Know if Your Eclipse Glasses and Binoculars are Safe?

UPDATE August 4This article was originally posted July 25, 2017. A lot has changed since then. All of the links below are to safe sources of solar eclipse glasses, viewers, and filters from reliable companies, but many of them have now sold out. As reliable dealers sell out of their stock of safe products, Amazon and other third party online sites have been flooded with unsafe, look alike, counterfeit products from fly-by-night companies. Read this important article for details: Unsafe Counterfeit Solar Eclipse Glasses Are Flooding Amazon and Other Online Markets

Here’s the short answer.  Don’t use any kind of eclipse glasses or eclipse viewers unless you can find evidence that they are ISO 12312-2 certified. If they aren’t, don’t use them.

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Make or Buy Your Own Inexpensive “White Light” Solar Filter to Watch and Photograph the Eclipse

White Light solar filters for photography, binoculars, and non-magnified viewing.

If you order soon (stocks are running low), you can make or buy your own inexpensive, “white light” solar filter for safely photographing (and viewing) the sun and the upcoming solar eclipse August 21. “White light” filters (unlike others) allow you to see and photograph the sun in a natural yellow-amber color.

Update, August 6, 2017: Many of these items are no longer available. Check the most recent articles in this series to see what is still available.

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Colorado Fall Color Travel Guide – 2017

Mt. Sneffels from County Road 7 - Dallas Creek. October 3.

Mt. Sneffels and the Sneffels Range from County Road 7 (East Dallas Creek), Colorado. October 3, 2014.

The most recent update to this article is here.

Welcome to my Colorado fall color travel guide with 100 pages of information (if you print it all out), 109 photos, and 17 maps. I cover some of the best known fall color locations in Colorado, and one real gem of a road that is mostly unknown to photographers and leaf peepers. Spend anywhere from a few days to three weeks exploring the beautiful Colorado Rockies at a gorgeous time of year.

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