Ouch! Looking at the sun with the naked eye is not recommended but so long as your eyes aren’t dilated it is unlikely you will cause any permanent damage. Doing so through a telescope, well that is a whole other story. Ever play with a magnifying glass and use the sun to burn/melt things when you were a kid? A telescope is not too unlike that because it is extremely good at gathering light and focusing it. You may be wondering what this has to do with photography. Telephoto lenses are basically a kind of telescope just with a little less power. Check this out:
That is a picture of the inside of a camera we recently received. Any guesses what caused that? Good guess, photographing or rather attempting to photograph the solar eclipse. The photographer was setting up to begin taking pictures of the celestial event and smelled burning plastic. They quickly discovered that it was coming from their camera and intervened. No pictures were taken. And now we have it, or so the story goes. Could you imagine if that was your eye?! Scary thought.
The camera doesn’t appear to be permanently damaged and is currently being repaired. Luckily, the photographer isn’t damaged either. It could have easily been a lot worse for both. If you ever feel like taking pictures of the sun, make sure to do your research and get the proper protection for you and your equipment.