NASA’s tips on photographing the solar eclipse

People watch a partial eclipse in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on March 20, 2015. Credit: Robin Cordiner

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Monday’s total solar eclipse promises to be a spectacular celestial event — and a unique photographic opportunity.

However, capturing images of such an event is not quite as simple as pointing your camera — or smartphone — skyward. NASA has tips for photographers of all skill levels who are looking to get that perfect eclipse picture.

Special Coverage: Solar Eclipse 2017 | Eclipse Coverage Map

As the sun is being eclipsed by the moon, NASA says you will need a special solar filter to protect your camera from damage. This is not unlike special glasses experts says are needed to protect you eyes.

Once the sun is completely blocked, the filter can be removed so that you can catch the’s outer atmosphere, or corona.

During the eclipse, you’ll be able to see and photograph the structures in the Sun’s corona.
Credits: Miloslav Druckmüller, Martin Dietzel, Shadia Habbal, Vojtech Rusin

NASA says it also does not take a special camera to capture stunning images of an eclipse. Anything from a high-end DLSR to a smartphone can work. Knowing how to adjust your camera’s exposure and shutter speeds can be key to working with the tricky eclipse lightning.

If you have a DSLR camera, NASA says practicing taking photos on the uneclipsed sun can help you figure out which settings you will need during the eclipse.

The sun might the most obvious element of the eclipse, but NASA recommends checking out the surrounding landscape, which will likely be covered in eerie lighting from long shadows.

NASA photographer Bill Ingalls recommends focusing people watching and marveling at the eclipse, which he says are going to be great moments to capture.

Hampton Roads Solar Eclipse Viewing Parties

There will be several viewing parties throughout Hampton Roads for the eclipse — including two official NASA locations.

NASA is encouraging you to share eclipse photos on social media — along with an accompanying hashtag of #Eclipse2017.

Stay with WAVY.com for continuing coverage of the solar eclipse.