Annular ring eclipse photo, courtesy of National Geographic

(This post was originally published May 20, 2012. It has since been updated)

A few years ago, the western United States gets treated to a rare astronomical event, an annular eclipse of the sun. Depending on where you were, the show started around 5:00 PM Pacific Time and ran for a couple of hours. During the moments of annularity, the moon was completely in front of the sun, but not covering it. The result was a pretty spectacular “Ring of Fire”. I was fortunate to catch another annular eclipse years ago in Lubbock, Texas. It was spectacular.

If you are in an eclipse’s path, you may be tempted to look at the eclipse or shoot the eclipse with our cameras or iPhones. Below are some links to good tips on how to safely view and shoot a solar eclipse.

IMPORTANT! Do NOT look straight at the eclipse! Ever. You will burn your retina and damage your eyes. Really.

Also, USA Today writes:

If you have a compact camera with an LCD screen (such as in iPhone. — =M=), you could, in theory, watch the eclipse on the screen, but it will still probably damage the camera’s image sensor, so we wouldn’t recommend it.

User Charlemagne in the Canon Digital Photography Forums writes:

If it is a full eclipse, I would try capturing the landscape at that moment. It’s magical. As if life suddenly comes to a stop. So wide angle for me. If it lasts long enough, might try to capture the diamond ring around the moon, but I’m not sure that is safe without extra protective filters. You don’t want to toast your sensor, or your eyes.

Here are a few links I found which are written for DSLRs and traditional cameras, but many of the techniques can easily be adapted for use with an iPhone camera.

Here are a couple of links with more tips and techniques:

Solar eclipse 2015: How to photograph the blackout using your smartphone on The Mirror.

How to photograph Sunday’s solar eclipse, The Christian Science Monitor


I shot the 2012 annular eclipse with an OWLE BUBO along with it’s very nice, huge, light-gathering wide angle lens to capture what was around me.

Have fun, view safely and if you get any good, striking or eerie eclipse pics with your iPhone, share them in Life In LoFi’s Flickr Group!