How to watch and capture the eclipse safely

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Watching the solar eclipse is a stunning and rare phenomenon, but it can also damage your eyes if you aren’t properly equipped.

As the moon passes over the sun, the light is focused and the beam is intensified. If you look at the eclipse without protection, there is the possibility that you can get what’s called solar retinopathy — permanent, significant damage to your retinas.

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With that in mind, it’s important that you find a pair of sunglasses before you look up, but not just any pair of sunglasses will do the trick. You need glasses marked with the ISO symbol which indicates there is the correct filter applied to the lenses for you to view the eclipse unharmed.

Eclipse glasses are available from many different retailers. Just be certain that you’re buying the glasses from a reputable place and double-check that they’re marked with that ISO symbol. Also, you’ll want to inspect the glasses and ensure there aren’t any tears or scratches on the lens that could allow the harmful rays to pass through.

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If you’re looking for a local spot to easily pick some up, WOOD TV8 has partnered with the Grand Rapids Public Museum where you can acquire your own pair of special eclipse glasses for less than $2 each.

Once you’re set up with your proper way of viewing the eclipse, you’ll probably be tempted to capture the moment on camera.

First, make sure that you have the basics taken care of. Check that your phone or camera is fully charged and has plenty of memory available for you to take photos or videos. Don’t utilize flash or attempt to zoom in if you plan on using a cellphone camera, as this will cause the image to lose resolution and become grainy. Lock the camera’s focus so that it isn’t variable as you’re snapping pictures.

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If you plan on using a cellphone camera, a good technique for the moment of totality is holding your finger down on the button to activate burst mode. This will take many consecutive pictures and help you to get that brief window when the sun reaches maximum coverage.

Have fun and be safe checking out the eclipse!

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