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DIY Solar Filter Holder and Eclipse Test Shoot

We’re getting closer to the day everyone has been talking about – the solar eclipse is almost here! If you plan on shooting photos of this astronomical event, you’ll need to gather up a few items to keep your camera and eyes safe. I ordered a solar filter sized to the biggest lens I plan to use. Once you have that, it is very easy to DIY a holder to keep your filter sheet where it needs to be and keep it neat enough to use again for photos or on a telescope.

Gather up some supplies – your filter, card stock, a few tissues, scissors, a measuring device, and a pencil.

You’ll need to cut two pieces of card stock to make a frame for your filter sheet. Cut a circle in the card stock to fit your particular lens – mine is just over 5″ across (this lens is massive!). Leave a few inches of frame around the circle so you have space to sandwich the filter in between the pieces of card stock with enough room to tape the edges.

Using little rolled pieces of tape or double-sided tape, prep your card stock frame pieces.

Tape a tissue on your surface before taking the filter sheet out of its packaging. The sheets can scratch easily!

Lay one card stock frame down, tape up, and gently place the filter sheet on top. Lay your second card stock frame on top of the filter, tape down, and gently press around the edges to stick it all together.

Set aside the framed filter and grab your lens of choice and another sheet or two of card stock.

Wrap the card stock around the lens and tape it closed to form a cylinder that fits close to the lens but still allows for easy removal. Cut down the length if necessary so it is just slightly longer than flush with the edge of your lens.

Place the framed filter on the tissue, mirrored side down, and tape the cylinder to the frame.

Tape the edges of the frame closed (as to be expected, a stray cat hair or three managed to work itself in!).

And you’re done! Test out the fit of your new filter holder and make sure you can get it on and off easily without bending the filter sheet.

We took the filter out for a test run and it works great – we even caught a few sunspots! For this photo, I used a Nikon D700 with a 300mm lens with a 1.4x teleconverter. My ISO was 400 and my aperture was at f/4 with a shutter speed of 1/800 of a second. If you try to take your own photos, make sure your camera is set to manual and test your settings in advance because auto settings will overexpose these types of images.

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