Total Eclipse in Texas and Eclipse Orchestrator

I am planning on going to Texas for the Total solar eclipse in April. I was curious if there are other OKCAC members travelling to Texas. I will be in Uvalde County area. If you are going to be that area let me know and maybe we can discuss. I have a place rented and I plan on going down a few days early to scout out alternate locations, if I have to travel away from the clouds.

Also I would like to know if anyone in the club is using Eclipse Orchestrator to run their DSLR cameras. I have been testing and practicing with EO and think I have things working pretty well, but it is always nice to share ideas and settings.

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I am planning on driving down to the Sulfur Srpings area. I’ll be taking my 4” Mak with solar filter for visual use only (not trying to photograph anything, just want to experience the event).

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Good plan, Casey! I’ve been urging anyone who is not experienced with imaging the sun to not even try. There will be thousands of images posted you can look at, taken by pros. I wasted about half of totality in 2017 trying to get a picture. I got one, that is pretty poor.

Just enjoy the experience! It’s worth it!

Hey Stan, I haven’t “locked down” a location yet. My wife and I will be trying to get on the path. The closest location is just southeast of Dallas, around Ennis. But, it may be cloudy there. Also, around Ennis will be very crowded.

If you have a place rented near Uvalde, I’d be happy to join you if there is room for my wife and me, I’ll have my car in “car camp” mode, so we won’t take up any space.
I’d also be down for scouting locations. I love scouting locations, thats what I love.

I do plan to use the eclipse orchestrator, I watched him on the astro imaging channel recently. But, I’ll probably modify his technique a little. But, for the most part, his guide is good.

I plan to do 3 cameras. One camera behind doing a timelapse/landscape at about 20-35mm.

Cameras 2 and 3 will be dual mounted, with one at about 500mm focal length and the other at about 1500mm focal length. The two cameras that are dual mounted will be exposed bracketed. The brackets will be: a) normal exposure, b) 2 stops underexposed, and c) 2 stops overexposed. That way I can stack the brackets for HDR later at home.

WEATHER / CLOUDS: about 2 days before we should have an accurate prediction. The plan be will be to drive as fast as we can, and just try to enjoy the view and maybe get a decent photo.

But, yes I would love to synch up with you down near Uvalde, these things are very fun with friends!

I have been told by many folks don’t image your first eclipse just enjoy the experience. I didn’t heed the advice and imaged the 2017 eclipse and got a lot of good pictures but I fell I missed a lot of the experience. So that is why I am using the Eclipse Orchestrator. It is fully automated. I plan to have one camera and telephoto lens using EO. Another camera wide field just taking the totality with an intervalometer on tripod. A Gopro voice activated on a tripod to record all of us watching and enjoying totality The dream is I will enjoy all of totality. My only job will be taking of the filter off and on when told by EO. I hope my plan works.

So Mitche is correct. Enjoy the Eclipse.

I have rented a place but I am not sure with all of the trees it will be a good spot to setup. On our last trip there for the annular, in the same area, we got clouds so I drove north to an intersection and setup. I will again be mobile and ready to drive to a good spot.
I agree it is always much better with friends. We probably need to talk and discuss not on this forum. I am not sure about posting my phone number on here? I don’t see a way to private message like the other one had?
Any ideas on how to connect?

We are somewhat limited in our ability to travel, but the wife and I will be taking the RV to Cumby, Texas, just west of Sulphur Springs. Alternatively, we’ve booked space just north of Broken Bow. Hopefully, one or the other will have clear skies. I got some passable images of the 2017 eclipse and will try again this time. If nothing else, we’ll enjoy live viewing the entire eclipse on a TV screen, supplemented with good old-fashioned eyeballs (appropriately filtered of course).

Plan A for me is a friend’s hunting camp just NW of Fort Hood. 4 min 1 sec of Totality!

I will also be watching the weather. If it’s predicted cloudy there a couple of days beforehand, Plan B is to go to Fort Smith (if clear there) the day before and scout out some place in the path to view it the next day.

Plan C is to drive to wherever it’s going to be clear, either going more south in Texas, or NE in Arkansas, and just sleeping in my truck.

It’s all weather dependent. I barely saw it in 2017. I got lucky. Literally 30 seconds after totality ended the clouds moved in for the rest of the day.

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Sounds like a good plan.
We are committed to the area we selected. Will go down a few days early to watch the weather, but we will be able to get in the truck and attempt to find clear skies if necessary. You just never know about the weather. I selected this area because statistically it should have less probability for clouds than where I went 2017. Also it is the same area that I went in 2023. But you never know about the fickle weather.

You too have a good plan. I was in Missouri in 2017 and almost got clouded out. It was moderately cloudy but cleared somewhat during totality. I got lucky. Picked my brothers house and had free room and board that time. This time no family members in the totality path. Having to fend for myself.

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Hi Stan, to message you just click on our user name, then up on the right you see the blue message box.

Hey mitche, have a little room on your friend’s hunting camp for me in my car? I can kick a little money in if I need to.

Thanks… I messaged you.


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Here are my suggestions on EO. You get the impression from his website that the free version will work. I had the free version for the annular and it didn’t work out.(didn’t try it out first big mistake) I decided to manually image the eclipse. Since then, I have watched some YouTube videos. There are not many about Eclipse Orchestrator, but Fred Bruenjes and Xjubie Jubier did a presentation on the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society website. It is now on their YouTube channel. I highly recommend going to their YouTube channel. They have many great presentation videos on the upcoming eclipse. Xjubier’s version on the MacOS platform seems to be more updated and more user friendly. I don’t have any Mac computer so I went with PC version. It works just fine, but takes a while to get your settings tweaked. As they recommend, practice and then more practice.
I have now purchased the full version and have tried many different settings. They depend on your camera’s age and ability to take pictures quickly. I have it working as far as not locking up or skipping pictures as it cycles through the eclipse phases. My only concerns now are my camera exposure settings. You can practice on Partial and pre-eclipse images. But during totality I am trusting his suggested settings. That is one reason I am posting this is I hope to hear from others who have used it and what successes they have had.
Here are a couple screen shots of my tested settings at iso 100. This setup gives me 355 pictures during partial phases for a possible timelapse and 141 pictures during totality.


I am going to test at 400 iso. I was reading that you want your pictures to be as fast as possible and this person recommended iso of 400. Just by changing only that one setting it increase the number of pictures to 355 to 379. He adds 24 more bracketing images to corona bracketing.

I am sure hoping others will chime in this Eclipse Orchestrator discussion. I know there are seasoned eclipse chasers in the great astronomy club.



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What camera model?
ISO 4OO-800 is a good range balancing noise and sensitivity. Shooting at F5.6 is pretty fast, so your exposure times should be shorter and that is good, that will help you. I’ll be shooting at F8 and F15 or so.

My camera is canon 70D with a 400mm zoom lens. I am using a ND 5 mylar film solar filter.
If you think that F8 is preferred over F5.6 I will give that a try. Have you ran any tests with your camera with EO? It took me quite a few tests just to get it take all of the images. I am using the serial cable and move the minimum exposures to 1.5 to get it to image fast enough. I will try 400 F/8 on the next sunny day and let you know what happens.



Eclipse Orchestrator looks like a fantastic app, but apparently only works with DSLR cameras. I plan to use my trusty ZWO ASI482MC, which is not a DSLR.

I can automate most of the eclipse capture using SharpCap, but am a bit wobbly on the timing for the Diamond Ring. I see from your screenshot that Eclipse Orchestrator has a checkbox for the Diamond Ring. Do you know if it actually calculates a time for the appearance of the Diamond Ring?


Since posting my eclipse timing question above, I’ve come across a phone app called Solar Eclipse Timer. It provides audible notices and countdowns of eclipse events from first contact to last contact. Of greatest interest to me is that it will provide a 60 second notice to prepare to remove solar filter and then a countdown to remove solar filter. It also provides a reverse countdown coming out of totality.

The app seems to have been developed by some expert eclipse photographers. I will be testing, familiarizing myself, and training on the app over the next few weeks.

Here’s the link to the developers’ website:

The app is free to test its features, and $1.99 for the app with full data set for 2024 solar eclipse.

There is some discussion of the app, including comments from its developer, on Cloudy Nights here:

Hey Russ, the “diamond rings” are not an exact time thing. They last for about 30 seconds on both sides of the eclipse. Depending on when you shoot them (at their beginning or their end) and the length of your exposure creates the effect. Basically, it’s just sun rays peeking out around the moon, so a shorter exposure for smaller “diamond ring glare” or longer for bigger “diamond ring glare”. Does that make sense? It kinda bothers me how these “eclipse experts” make it sound like everything is exact.

All your exposure times depend on your F stop and camera sensitivity. ISO vs gain etc.

I’ve had that eclipse time for years. For the annular, my brother and I just synched up our own countdowns leading up to the main eclipse by doing bracketed exposures at 5-minute intervals (we had a timer alarm set on our iphones), then when the main eclipse happened we were doing “rapid fire” photos as fast as our buffers would allow.

This eclipse I plan to do it the same way. Intervals leading up, then rapid fire bracketed exposures during.

What you need to do is: set up some brackets in a plan, then test how fast you can capture and transfer the files before your bandwidth gets clogged up. The same advice goes for all of us with DSLR or mirrorless or cooled astro cameras.

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Thanks. I appreciate that timing for the Diamond Ring, Bailey’s Beads, etc., are not clockwork precise. I just couldn’t remember how far before or after totality the Diamond Ring might show up. Your 30-second figure gives me something to work from.

During the 2017 eclipse, I had some pretty good results shooting AVI video sequences from start of totality through the end. Unfortunately, I missed the first Diamond Ring, but caught the second.

This time, I plan to video totality in one complete video sequence and the partial phases before and after as a series of stills.

Update: Here’s a snippet of video from the 2017 eclipse showing the beginning of the Diamond Ring. I hope to do better this time and capture the whole thing.



Yes, the Eclipse Orchestrator is for DSLR cameras. It is mainly for Canon and Nikon. Eclipse Maestro for Mac’s works with more camera types. Both apps need to know your exact location to determine the times for the events of the eclipse. What they do is take multiple exposures to attempt to get a good image during each event. In the EO program he has a window he calls the visualizer. In it, he shows your camera exposure time and length of the exposure plotted with the event time in color coded lines below.

This shows my sequence for the diamond rings. I am taking 4 exposures 1/200 iso 400. The green line is diamond rings and the yellow is Bailey’s beads. This way you can determine if you have enough exposure at the correct time so they don’t overlap.
I like your idea of videoing the eclipse. I decided to use the DSLR instead.
Another issue I will have is, that at my location the sun will cross the meridian at 12:41. I don’t want my mount to meridian flip during the eclipse. I have decided to use an alt-Az mount for the eclipse. With short exposures, I should be okay. I am concerned with tracking but I had tracking issues with my Equatorial mount during the annular and was able to address that during post-processing.
I will probably get that app you suggested. Looks like it will be very handy to know the timing of the eclipse. Pretty sure things will be rather hectic while all of this is going on.
Appreciate your input.

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