Equipment, what worked, what didn’t? Well, everything did, so I’m quite happy with the setup used to photograph the 13/14 Nov 2012 total solar eclipse:
- Lenovo X220 notebook with Win 7 and EclipseOrchestrator to control everything
- iCap notebook tent
- TranSystem 747pro GPS logger
- USB hub with USBserial adapter and home-grown serial port shutter release cable
- Canon 5D Mark III connected via USB and shutter release cable
- “Russentonne” 1000 mm Maksutov telephoto lens
- My old, heavy, sturdy, North Sea salt water proven ;-) Manfrotto tripod
- Tele-Optic-tecnica wedge and GIRO-mini
- Astrotrac mount
- Baader solar filter
When using EclipseOrchestrator, it is extremely important to test the control scripts thoroughly, over and over again. Camera cycle times and overall timing are tricky, especially when using mirror lockup and a serial port shutter cable. BTW: Fred’s support for his program is superb!
The Astrotrac’s tracking time is approx. 2 hours, just a perfect match for a total solar eclipse. And you definitely need something like the wedge and GIRO-mini, a normal “photo” ball head just won’t do it. For this eclipse the GIRO-mini would probably have worked without counterweights, as the sun was just 12 degrees above the horizon at totality and thus the GIRO-mini in a more or less upright position.