Moon Shot, February 20, 2008

Is there something of balance to be found in a lunar eclipse? Here is a variety of shots from the action on Wednesday night.









Published in: on February 21, 2008 at 11:23 pm  Comments (6)  

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  1. Cool moon pictures. With disappointment today I realized that I forgot to go out to watch it last night.

    Response from Steve:
    Thanks. I saw it when I was leaving choir practice and quickly set up the camera. It was the second time since living here that I’ve been surprised by an eclipse that I wasn’t expecting.

  2. Wow, I am soooo envious! It was cloudy and snowing here until well after the eclipse was over. You got some great shots…I’m really glad to get to see them. Thanks for sharing!

    Response from Steve:
    Thank you. Sorry you couldn’t see it. That’s the way astronomical events often happen with me…behind the clouds, like with that comet a while back.

  3. Okay how is this for the “Balance” aspect:

    The dance of the planets continues without any need whatsoever of our intervention or knowledge. But every once in a while, if we are observant, we get a glimpse of both the beauty and the grace behind the celestial mechanics. It is then up to us to appreciate.

    Okay, now please understand that the above comment is in no way intended to even come close to rivaling your eloquence or command of words (I am sure you can come up with a “big slab of vocabulary” in response).

    I also happened to see the eclipse purely by chance. My wife, daughter, and I pulled into our driveway at 10:30 PM EST just about at the peak of the event (the moon was red jus tlike your 4th to the last photo). We were returning from a gymnastics meet a couple hours away (down near the Detroit area), and I must admit I waas not really in the mood nor of the energy level at the time to truly appreciate what I had the privelege to see.

    So tell me a bit about the photos. What lens did you use, did you use a tripod, anything special with respect to settings to get such good exposures? Are these full frame images or are they cropped? You have captured some great images of a subject that is very difficult to capture well.

    Response from Steve:
    I like your thoughts on celestial movement and our chance for appreciation, Jeff. That’s a good response to what I was wondering. As always, thank you for your compliments and encouragement. I’ll try to tell a little bit about the photos.

    These were necessarily tripod mounted shots; anything handheld would have been wasted. Beyond that, I just played with aperture, exposure, and ISO to get some pleasing effects. Until the moon was completely covered by the earth’s shadow, the directly reflected sunlight made overexposure the enemy of a good photo. So I closed down the aperture to 22 or 20, and experimented to find a shutter speed that collected enough light and contrast for at least a semi-3D look. After the shadow was obscuring all the reflected sunlight, I opened back to a wide aperture, 4.5 being the widest, and got some slow shots (1/3 second) that let the moon surface features show through the dusky shadow (as in the last photo). [For exact specs on the photos, go to Flickr, click on a photo, and then click “More properties”.]

    I just used one of the lenses that came with the camera (40-150mm zoom), and it was cranked all the way to 150. A better and longer lens would have given results of a much higher quality. But I will say, as usual, they look better in person than they do on Flickr. The photos are cropped for the purpose of magnifying the image.

    Some people use a moon filter on their lens to get easy, balanced photos of the moon, but I don’t have one. I do keep a UV filter on my lens most of the time, but don’t know what effect it really has on the results.

    The two posted photos with so much orange were made using the sunset programmed setting on the camera, a feature that gives priority to reddish tones. The others are manually set up. My camera does not have capacity to manually focus the lens, and I thought it did when I bought it (or if it does, I haven’t been able to find it when I want it). There are times when I really want that, and it would have helped that night. Sometimes a photographer wants to do something other than what the camera thinks you want to do. It’s easier to get around that in daylight when you can prefocus by touching the shutter button, move the camera, and then complete the shot, but even that is inexact. Doing that in the dark is impossible, because the camera tends to not focus on something it cannot see.

    Thanks for reading.

  4. Wow! Great photos! The last eclipse in August was awwesome! I was in Nome still, and the sky was actually getting dark at night. You could see it so clearly, and then WHAM! There are the Northern Lights right next to the moon as it was in the middle of the eclipse! I wish I had my camera that night!

    Response from Steve:
    Thank you, Sarah. That eclipse and aurora night you describe sounds wonderful! I’ve never seen the northern lights.

  5. Awesome. No matter how many eclipses one watches, there is nothing that prepares one for the magical moment when the moon enters totality and starts glowing coppery red.

    Thanks for sharing. Your photos are wonderful. And I can’t even begin to imagine how beautiful it must have been for Sarah to watch the eclipse along with the aurora.

    Response from Steve:
    Hello, Polaris. Welcome to Balance! Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, Sarah had an incredible opportunity, there.

  6. […] eclipse a few weeks ago. He had a beautiful view in South Carolina, and posted some of his pictures here. Go check them out. Now! […]

    Response from Steve:
    Thanks, Betsy. I’m glad you liked the photos!

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