Eclipsing the Moon

April 15, 2014  •  4 Comments

You've got to be dedicated to a project if you want any success at it. Okay, let's be honest. You have to be willing to forgo sleep, step in dog poop and drag that around the kitchen, look for ice cream in the freezer to find you've already eaten it all, and have spare batteries. And more spare batteries.

 

Shooting the Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse last night was an adventure. I tried to get some sleep prior to midnight. You know how that goes. The more you want to sleep, the less sleep comes.

 

I got up and got my gear ready to go: camera, tripod, remote trigger release, lens and warm hat.

 

There was lots written online about how to capture the eclipse with one's camera. Frankly, that was the easy part.

 

F2.8, ISO 400, my 300mm 2.8 lens... and a varying shutter speed.

 

When the moon was bright and full, there was plenty of light. Shutter speed in the first shot was 1/3200. That changed to .5 second, 1 second, 1.6 seconds and then back to 1 second at the end.

 

I also had to move the tripod frequently over the course of the 2 1/2 hours. As the moon moved across the sky, I found I didn't have a clear view after some time. In addition, since I wasn't using a wide angle lens, but rather than 300 mm one, as the moon moved -- even after 15 minutes -- I had to move the camera to continue to have the moon in the frame. What this meant was a lot of movement -- and focusing.

 

This was the biggest challenge -- focus. I focused manually because the remote trigger also tries to focus the camera and since it was night, it had a harder time knowing what to focus on. But as it got darker -- as the eclipse progressed -- it was hard for my eyes to focus too. There are many less-than-crisp shots.

 

Since it was pretty chilly outside (in the 30s), my camera battery died as did the remote that sat atop the camera. The one snug in my jacket pocket did fine. Plus I was able to remotely trigger the camera from the warmth of the house most of the time....

 

There are other lunar eclipses on the horizon (just a small pun, forgive me). What would I do differently?

 

The big thing would be to set up the tripod right away in a spot where I'd have continuous tree-less vantage. I might try a slightly smaller lens. The wider the angle, the less fiddling around necessary. And finally, I'd stay away from the dog poop. I kept smelling it during the whole shoot and didn't know it was me.

 


Comments

Dmitri Wolkofff(non-registered)
It was cloudy when I looked out the window and I went back to bed. In the past when I photographed the moon for my first time I attached my Canon camera to the mounting strap on my C-5 Celestron telescope which automatically tracks the heavens. --That said your photos are great!!!
Birdi(non-registered)
Beautiful sequence along with a great story. You'll get lots of milage out of both.
Jeanne Zetah(non-registered)
Awesome photos, Jody! Thanks so much for sharing! It's too bad you had to deal with the dog poop.
Elayne(non-registered)
whatever you went thru to get it--by golly you did it girl and I for one thank you. I wish I couldcopy it and save it, but dunce that I am on techy things I do't know how. It was wonderful seeing it. Thankyou
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