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Solar eclipse 2017: Is it safe to take a selfie with the eclipse? How to do it the right way
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Solar eclipse 2017: Is it safe to take a selfie with the eclipse? How to do it the right way

Solar eclipse 2017: Is it safe to take a selfie with the eclipse? How to do it the right way
Photo Credit: Ethan Daniels/Getty Images/WaterFrame RM
Total Solar Eclipse at 21 July 2009, Aitutaki Atoll, Cook Islands

Solar eclipse 2017: Is it safe to take a selfie with the eclipse? How to do it the right way

The Great American Eclipse on Monday is expected to draw millions of Americans to cities along the centerline path of totality, where the moon completely blocks the sun, the earth goes dark and the sun’s corona shimmers in the blackened sky.

And with all the hype surrounding the total eclipse, you’re probably wondering if you can sneak a selfie in during the mega celestial event.

While we (along with most professional experts) recommend you put your phones down and enjoy the brief, once-in-a-lifetime experience sans technology, wanting to capture the moment digitally is certainly tempting.

>> How to photograph the solar eclipse 

If you’re planning to take a selfie (or use your smartphone camera at all), Nathan Yanasak and Jeri Ann Beckworth, both in the Department of Radiology and Imaging at Augusta University’s Medical College of Georgia, have some advice.

Eclipse selfie precautions and tips:

Lower your expectations. The eclipse will look very small in your selfie. Focus on getting the wide views of the sky and atmosphere, along with the eclipse.

>> Solar eclipse 2017: Your eyes will fry under normal sunglasses during 2017 eclipse, here’s why

Keep your solar eclipse glasses on. Safety is paramount during an eclipse, especially during its partial phases. Don’t look directly at the sun and keep your safety equipment on just in case the sunlight begins to creep in again after totality.

Limit your photos to the totality period. Yanasak and Beckworth recommend limiting selfies to the brief totality period, when your eyes will be safer and your camera settings will be easier to navigate.

>> Solar eclipse 2017: Make your own 'pinhole projector'

Be quick. Again, totality is brief — approximately 2 minutes and 30 seconds (or less). Snap your photos quickly, with enough time left over to breathe it all in.

 Practice adjusting your camera’s control exposure settings. This is the most difficult part (aside from assuring safety) of capturing the eclipse in your selfie. Familiarize yourself with your phone’s camera settings and practice adjusting them during one of these two scenarios from Yanasak and Beckworth:

>> On AJC.com: Complete coverage of the solar eclipse

1. Practice during a nearly full moon. Try to snap a picture where a nearly full moon fills half of the view and is not overexposed—it should appear as a grey disk with clear features.

2. Use two dark rooms with a 25W incandescent light bulb in a clip-on lamp. Set up the lamp in one room, wrapped in a single paper towel. Stand in the other room about 30 feet from the bulb to practice your picture. Practice in the evening, and close your curtains to avoid stray light from outside.

>> Read more trending news

Consider downloading an advanced phone app, such as ProCamera. Even with all the practice, your smartphone camera might not be as sophisticated or sufficient for exposure control. Download advanced camera apps that give you more exposure settings and features.

Don’t zoom. Experts recommend using a wide-angle view and not the digital zoom on your phone while taking a selfie.

Do you need a solar filter for your phone? According to NASA, solar filters must be attached to the front of any optics, including camera lenses. But that’s not the case for most GoPro and smartphone shots, because the shots will be wide-angle views.

>> Solar eclipse 2017: What time does it start; how long does it last; glasses; how to view it

Apple told USA Today the iPhone camera sensor and lens would not be damaged during the solar eclipse, just as they wouldn’t be damaged if you pointed the camera toward the sun at any other time.

This is because the iPhone camera (and that of other similar smartphones) have a 28mm wide angle, whereas larger Canon or Nikon DSLR cameras have large zooms with high multiplication.

The GoPro lens is even wider at around 14mm.

“Apple and others suggest shooting wide shots of the scene, capturing not only the eclipse, but also the atmosphere...and the amazing shadows that are naturally cast,” USA Today reported.

>> What not to do the day of and during the total solar eclipse

Because you won’t see as much of the sun in a still photo, consider taking a time lapse or video instead.

How to actually take an eclipse selfie, according to Yanasak and Beckworth:

  1. Switch your flash from “Auto” to “On.”
  2. Turn on your front-facing camera so that you see yourself on the screen.
  3. Move around so that you position the moon over your shoulder.
  4. Use your right hand to adjust the exposure to the moon and hold.
  5. Use your left hand to take the photo.
  6. Now, put your phone away and enjoy the moment, whether you got the photo you wanted or not.

Plan to photograph the eclipse? Here are general eclipse photography tips from NASA.

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  • Lawmakers in Congress on Sunday failed to reach a deal on plan to fund the federal government, meaning the work week will being with furloughs for hundreds of thousands of federal workers across the nation, but there was a hint of progress as a Senate vote on a temporary funding measure was delayed until noon on Monday, with Republican leaders offering a plan which would guarantee a Senate debate on immigration matters in February, in hopes that Democrats would then help to fund the government in the meantime. “Let’s step back from the brink,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor late on Sunday evening, as he urged Democrats to allow the government to re-open, and continue negotiations on a host of issues, including immigration. “The shutdown should stop today,” McConnell added. McConnell outlined a plan to fund operations of the government through February 8, and said that if by that date no agreement had been reached on how to deal with DACA and illegal immigrant “Dreamers” in the United States, then he would agree to bring the issue up on the Senate floor for debate and votes. That immediately won the support of two Republicans who have been trying to broker a deal on the issue. “The Senate should act like the Senate,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who endorsed the idea of regular order on the Senate floor on immigration. “This is more than a reasonable proposal by the Majority Leader,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who spent much of the last three days shuttling between McConnell, Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, and a host of Senators in both parties, in search of common ground. I'm very pleased to hear Majority Leader McConnell commit to the Senate that if we do not make a breakthrough on immigration by February 8th, the Senate will take the issue up under regular order. This is a more than reasonable proposal by the Majority Leader. — Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 22, 2018 “It would be my intention to resolve these issues as soon as possible, so we can move on to other issues important to our country,” McConnell added. But Senate Democrats were not ready to accept, as Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer objected to McConnell’s attempt to hold a vote Sunday night on the plan for a temporary budget that would last until February 8, which is just 18 days away. Still – Senate observers saw that as a positive, as neither McConnell nor Schumer engaged in any scorched earth exchanges, unlike earlier in the day. To some, that may mean a deal is in the works. Supporting notion that shifting 1a vote to Noon Monday indicates deal is attainable: McConnell/Schumer floor remarks were short and generally absent political grandstanding and attacks. Theoretically, a positive sign. — David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) January 22, 2018 Originally, the Senate was to have voted at 1 am on Monday morning, but that vote was delayed until noon, as Republicans hope Democrats will re-think their opposition, and allow a funding measure to go through the Congress.
  • A 42-year-old man is dead following an auto-pedestrian collision Saturday night in Sand Springs. The fatality crash happened around 7:49 p.m. on Highway 97.  “Driver of the car that struck him, a 2002 Kia, along with witnesses reported that the pedestrian darted out in front of him going east through the intersection,” police said.   “The driver of the Kia was southbound in the inside lane and he had no time to react.” Police add 42-year-old Kevin Myers was pronounced dead at the scene.  No word on why he was trying to cross the road.  
  • There is good and bad news for your outdoor activities today. National Weather Service Meteorologist Ray Sundag says temperatures will be well above normal, but we could also get wet. “It will become party cloudy,” Sundag said.  “We will see a chance of showers and even thunderstorms as we move into the late afternoon hours.” The high will be right around 70 degrees.  For reference, the normal high for this time of year is near 47 degrees.   Temperatures will drop quite a bit Sunday night.  NWS is reporting mostly clear skies and a low close to 39 degrees.  
  • With no signs of any deal to restore funding for the federal government, lawmakers on Capitol Hill will be back for a rare Sunday session, with no real signs of an agreement to end the first government shutdown since 2013, as both parties continued to point the finger of blame at each other. The main stumbling block continues to be immigration, and what to do about hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant Dreamers in the United States, who were protected under the Obama Administration’s DACA program, which was ended by the Trump Administration in October. Republicans made clear – there is no deadline on DACA until March – as they said those negotiations should simply continue while the government is funded and operating. “I hope Senator Schumer comes to his senses and ends this shutdown madness sooner rather than later,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, taking aim at the Senate Democratic Leader. But for Democrats, they worry that the GOP will never deal on immigration and DACA, as their leaders have decided now is the time to press for action. During Saturday’s House and Senate sessions – where no obvious progress was made – Democrats continued to argue that Republicans were the problem, since the GOP is in charge of the House, Senate and White House. “Americans know Republicans own the Trump Shutdown,” said Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY). “Anyone claiming otherwise should double check who has control in Congress.” Instead of signs of compromise, Saturday was mainly filled with tough rhetoric from both parties. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said President Trump’s grade for his first year in office was a “big fat failure F.” With no evidence of any deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set a procedural vote for just after 1 am on Monday morning, trying to force action on a plan to extend government funding until February 8, as he again blamed Democrats for the impasse. If Democrats hold together as they did late on Friday night, then that motion would not get the needed 60 votes to end debate, meaning the shutdown would hit government offices on Monday morning. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says “Congress has a lot of work to do” but it is being 'delayed by the Democrat’s filibuster' https://t.co/IU5LKpcVoB — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 20, 2018 Various federal agencies were still making their plans for Monday; one federal worker that I saw on Saturday evening said his office had been told to come in for four hours on Monday, and then they would likely be sent home if there was no funding plan approved by the Congress.
  • Hours after funding lapsed for the federal government at midnight, lawmakers in both parties returned for an unusual Saturday session of the House and Senate, as both parties quickly launched themselves into finger pointing over who is to blame for the first government shutdown since 2013, with few signs that a deal was near on the major spending and immigration issues that brought about the standoff. “Get it together,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi bluntly said to Republicans in a morning speech on the House floor, as she led a chorus from her party in blaming the President for the budgetary impasse. “The Trump travesty continues, as it has for the last twelve months,” said Pelosi’s top lieutenant, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD). But Republicans were having none of that. “We’re about nine hours into the Schumer shutdown,” said Rep. Greg LaMalfa (R-CA) as the House convened, “which is basically Senate Democrats holding the United States, 320 million people, hostage.” Greetings from the Capitol this Saturday morning, where we have evidence of the shutdown: Capitol tours are suspended. pic.twitter.com/rfPAlLLlIQ — Cristina Marcos (@cimarcos) January 20, 2018 “There is no excuse for this,” said Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA). “Democrats shut down the govt to protect illegals this week,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA). Behind the scenes, lawmakers in both parties were still hoping to cut a deal that would have the government fully open by Monday – but there was little evidence of a possible breakthrough on the broader budget and immigration issues which led to this stalemate. Negotiations have centered on reaching a two year agreement on spending levels for the budget – as President Trump wants a sizable increase in the military’s budget – and on DACA, where Democrats were still hoping to get an agreement that would protect some 700,000 illegal immigrant “Dreamers” from being deported. As the clock ticked toward midnight on Friday night, there were a flurry of talks on the Senate floor between Senators of both parties – not really about the specifics of the budget or DACA – but mainly about the length of any temporary funding plan for the government, and plans to vote on that hot button immigration topic. “Since there were discussions here in earnest, in a bipartisan way, we ought to give those discussions a chance to bear fruit,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). “We should stay and work,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). “Senator McConnell chose to shut the government down,” referring to the GOP leader in the Senate. But the underlying issues remain fraught with political problems, especially on immigration, where many Republicans see no direct link between funding the government and a deal on DACA and illegal immigrant “Dreamers.” “This Schumer Shutdown is absolutely ridiculous,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA). “It is totally irresponsible for the Democrats to use government funding as a bargaining chip.” At the White House, there was no sign that the President was going to cave on Democratic demands on immigration, as officials accused Democrats of doing all they could to slow political momentum from a big GOP tax cut plan that was signed into law in December. One year into the Trump presidency, Democrats can't shut down the booming Trump economy so they shut down the government instead. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators. Do your job Democrats: fund our military and reopen our government #SchumerShutdown — Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 20, 2018 Democrats said they thought they were close to a deal with the President on Friday over DACA and other immigration issues, but that Mr. Trump backed off, again emphasizing the uncertainty that surrounds talks with the White House on major legislative issues. Even if the Senate were to approve a bill which combined provisions on DACA and the Dreamers, along with other items on border security, most Republicans say that would have little chance in the House, where GOP lawmakers favor a much tougher approach. One obvious difference between this shutdown and the one in 2013, is seen right here in Washington, D.C., where outdoor memorials and the Smithsonian museums were still open. Those were shut down by the Obama Administration last time, in what Republicans said was an effort to punish the GOP for a shutdown battle. FYI for anyone visiting DC this weekend: The @smithsonian museums WILL be open Saturday and Sunday. I was told they are not sure if they'll have to close Monday, though. They were waiting for guidance. — Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela) January 20, 2018