December 2011 Lunar Eclipse

10 12 2011

Well, I did it.  I got up early on Saturday morning to brave the cold and attempt to photo the eclipse.  My son Josh, told me he wanted to get up with me and check it out too.  When I went into his room at 4:15 this morning and tried to wake him up, he mumbled something, tolled over and went back to sleep.  After I got to the park, set up my tripod, and checked the temperature, I thought I should have stayed in bed too.  I was 17 DEGREES!!!  I thought for sure my camera and lens was going to going to freeze, or at least fog real bad after getting out of the warm car.  It held up though like a champ.  I ended up putting the seat down in our SUV, opening up the back hatch on the car and just shooting out of the back.  The wind was blowing a little too, so I think staying in the car (with the heater on high!) helped reduce a little bit of wobble on the tripod.  I got there a little early so I was able to get a decent photo of what we were starting out with, moon wise.

With it being so cold, I’m not going to lie, I really wanted to just make up some excuse about clouds and no visibility, but I stuck it out and was able to capture these…

While I was waiting for the for the eclipse to get into full swing, I decided to snap a long exposure nighttime shot.  It’s one of my favorite styles of photography.

90 second exposure

We were about at the half way point by now, and this is what it looked like.











It was tough getting the right exposure.  You have to detail in different lights.  It you want to capture the overall detail of the moon, you have to use a fairly quick shutter speed.  For the picture above left, I used 200 ISO, f5.6, and 1/60 shutter.  I wasn’t really getting the detail of the “eclipse” that I wanted so I monkeyed with the exposure until I got the photo on the right.  All I think I did was use a 2″ shutter.  It overexposed the bottom half of the moon, but started to bring the upper half out a bit.

The last two photos are when the moon is fully eclipsed, and why I even showed up this morning.










I have to admit that I’m a little disappointed with the quality of the photos taken with my 75-300 telephoto when it was extended all the way to 300.  The images weren’t nearly as sharp as I wanted.  I’m hoping to acquire a 70-200 f2.8, ahem….Santa?  Until then the other will have to do!

I hope you all were able to enjoy the eclipse like I did.  If so, feel free to leave a link to your photos in the comments below.  I would also like to hear about different techniques you all used to capture your images!



Upcoming Lunar Eclipse

8 12 2011

Saturday morning Northern California (all of the Pacific Time Zone as a matter of fact) will be in pretty good position to view a total lunar eclipse.  The timeline goes a little something like this….

0445 hrs –  the eclipse will begin

0605 hrs – start of eclipse totality

0657 hrs – end of eclipse totality

The sun will be starting to rise around 0600 hrs, and should give the whole experience a little extra “Mood Lighting”.  I plan on being up early to try and capture a piece of this phenomenon.

I’m not sure exactly how I will shoot the photos.  I’m going to try a low ISO, about F8, and a longer than normal exposure.  I think I’ll probably use my 75-300 telephoto lens and attempt to get “above” the lights of town.  I might even drive a little ways out of town to escape the lights.  Of course all of this is subject to change.  Things in my head rarely work out as I envision them.  Just ask my wife about the wood floor project.  I finally got the trim pieces around the doors replaced.  And it only took me 8 months!!  Progress if you ask me…

Stay tuned