On the Cheap

Yesterday in the comments Kathy said this “Being that we can sit in our own yard here at the farm to enjoy this eclipse on Saturday, we are quite excited! Got our glasses at a astronomy talk on the eclipses so we are ready. I want to take photos but I don’t have any fancy filters. So can I still get pics or should I just forget it.”

So I went for a cheap setup for the 2017 total eclipse.

Yesterday I showed you the eclipse glasses we used. I had done my research at NASA and found this company made quality and safe glasses. This was the first purchase.

Next I wanted a filter for my camera. Back to the internet for suggestions for a quality filter. At first I found that filters were running between $90 and $400 (if I remember right). Whoa no way was I going to spend that much for an event that only lasts about four minutes. Mulling it over I decided to rig one on the cheap.

The 4″x4″ Solar Filter Sheet for Telescopes, Binoculars and Cameras by Thousand Oaks Optical for twelve bucks looked perfect.

First thing was to find some sort of ring that I could attach to my camera’s lens. A coffee jar lid was the perfect diameter. Second I hacked a not-so-pretty hole in the lid. This rig was from 2017 which I had left the filter in.
I cut out the filter to fit inside the lid. Next a heavy paper ring to hold it securely in the lid.
There is my cheap filter. And it was what I used yesterday for the mid-day star (ie the sun) test photo.

Additionally to protect the filter for traveling and to be used again I cut the coffee container in half. One note, delivery for a sheet solar filter on Amazon would not be delivered until next week if you were thinking of getting a sheet. But you would be ready for the April eclipse!

The next total eclipse won’t happen again in the US until August 23, 2044. Plus it won’t be close to home unless we move Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Canada or Greenland. So this will be my last shot at an eclipse I reckon. πŸ™‚ Here’s Where You Can See Every Total Solar Eclipse for the Next 50 Years.

An even cheaper way to capture a photo with your cell phone would be with a pinhole camera type thing. The grease strainer might be something to use too. Or another suggestion I saw was a colander. You got options! And I am ready for the annular eclipse on Saturday!

Pre-dawn at the Pollinator Ranch!

First thing this morning I heard the Northern Flicker calling.

Then I heard the familiar klee klee klee klee klee call of an American Kestrel! For the record my first of season was yesterday.

The Kestrels are the smallest North America falcon. An easy ID for the Kestrel is the tail pumping when perched. Additionally to the tail pumping, they often hover while hunting. Occasionally they will breed here too.

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Keep looking!

The more you know, the more you see and the more you see, the more you know


  1. Ingenious! I will look forward to seeing what you capture. You should have brought your RV here and camped out.
    And just FYI for everyone reading this, Mary & I did it again. I also saw my FOS kestrel yesterday! It is just too funny. I don’t see flickers here though.

  2. So, the annular solar eclipse on Saturday isn’t a total eclipse. You’ll still see a ring of sun around the moon. The eclipse on April 8 of next year (2024) will be a total solar eclipse (sun totally obscured by the moon) and we are directly in the path of totality in North Texas! We’re planning a big viewing party on the Flower Mound that day.

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