December 22, 2010

Photos from the Lunar Eclipse

I stayed up late to watch the lunar eclipse on the night of the winter solstice. The weather was perfect here that night: in the 50's, bright and mostly clear, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try some photographic skills I very rarely use on a night that won't occur again in my lifetime - there will be lunar eclipses, but not on a solstice.

I pulled out the tripod, and then had to find the plate for the bottom of the camera. Fortunately I did find it, in the dresser drawer where I keep miscellaneous camera/computer stuff. I checked out my camera manual, and googled "how to photograph a lunar eclipse" for tips.

Additional equipment: flashlight, jacket, cell phone (my "watch"). I set up the tripod and then turned off the porch light. Our two outdoor dogs were excited that I'd come out to play with them but eventually they laid down nearby. I was glad I had the flashlight by the time the moon was totally in shadow.

I felt as though I was standing on my head though. With the camera on the tripod and pointed up at the moon overhead, it took some gymnastics to look through the viewfinder. I used the self-timer to minimize shaking. The dark sky necessitated long exposures, sometimes several seconds long.

As the moon went dark, the stars got brighter. There is little light pollution here and the sky was absolutely awesome, with the emphasis on "awe". There were a few hazy clouds in the sky but they did not obscure the moon. Coyotes ran singing through the ravine. A shooting star fell across the sky.

I stayed until the moon was totally in shadow. At that point my camera refused to take photos because the subject was too dark, even at the highest ISO. It was almost 2 AM and I was really sleepy, so I packed up and went indoors. (NOTE: The moon really didn't rotate, I moved the camera as the moon moved higher in the sky.)

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! I loved the pictures and your commentary. Thanks for sharing.


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