Total Lunar Eclipse

bpholt's picture

Given that my body half thinks I’m still in a European timezone, I decided to get up early and watch the total lunar eclipse, taking some photos while I watched.

Blood Moon

I set my alarm for 5:15am, got up, looked out the window and didn’t see stars, so I thought it was cloudy and went back to bed. My second alarm went off at 5:30am and I though, “Well, I’m up, I might as well walk outside and make sure. Maybe the moon is visible.” Turns out it was completely clear—who knows what I was thinking earlier.

Anyway, the total eclipse started here at 5:27am, so I grabbed the tripod, computer, and camera, got things set up, and started shooting. I took 123 pictures from 5:41am until the moon finally disappeared behind trees on the horizon at 7:13am. It took a little while to get the exposure and focus dialed in, but eventually they started coming out pretty well. Nearer to dawn I started having to deal with fog on the lens too, so occasionally I used the blanket I had with me on the deck to wipe things down.

My Nikon can be tethered to my computer using Aperture, so I didn’t really have to touch the camera except to occasionally adjust the aim as the moon moved through the sky. Since the exposure times were a couple seconds in some cases, triggering the shutter using the computer resulted in steadier shots. I have a remote that can do this too, but it’s kind of awkward to use, and the tethering has the side advantage of letting you see the picture immediately on the computer’s bigger screen, so it was easier to dial in the settings.

Blood Moon

Good times. Next time I’ll set the camera outside the night before so it cools to ambient temperature before shooting (on the theory that will help with the fogging—maybe this is nonsense.), and wear pants instead of shorts when it’s like 46º outside. :-)