Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lunar Eclipse

Back in Febuary, 2008 there was a lunar eclipse. Like a lot of people I spent the night photographing it. My gallery of the entire night's shoot is linked here. The picture you see here is a composite of the best shots I got throughout the night chronicling the eclipse's progression. It is also the first composite that I've been able to make with Photoshop Elements. The plain, black background really helped with selecting the various moon images and blending them together. More after the jump about how I photographed the eclipse.

To capture the shots, I had my camera mounted on a tripod. I used my 70-300mm VR lens zoomed out to 300mm and turned the VR off. VR wasn't needed since I was using a tripod. Spot exposure was used throughout the evening. The full moon exposure was f/8 at 1/250 and ISO 100. You can actually get a shot of the full moon hand-held with the 70-300mm VR. I did that the night before and the VR kept the lens steady enough for the exposure.

The remaining shots throughout the night were simply taken by spot metering off of the moon. As the exposure times grew longer, I used my IR remote to trigger the camera and the exposure delay feature to further reduce camera shake in order to maintain image sharpness. At the mid-point of the eclipse the exposure was f/8 and 1/60. Just before the totality period, when the moon was just a dim, sliver visible to the naked eye the exposure was f/8 at 1/20. During totality, or the total eclipse period, the exposure was f/8 and 3 seconds. I also opened the aperture a stop to f/5.6 to get exposures at 1.3 seconds and 1.6 seconds. The 1.6 second exposure was when the moon started re-entering the sun's light.

The shot that you see to the left was one my favorites of the night. It is enlarged from its' original size to show more detail. What I like about it is the slight blue fringe on the right edge. It is my understanding that the blue color comes from the faint amount of sunlight that has traveled through the Earth's atmosphere. So, I suppose you could call it Earthlight.

This shot is a wider view that shows some of the stars that were visible at the time. You might need to click to see the larger version as the stars are fairly dim even when compared to the eclipsed moon. I believe that one of the stars is Saturn.

Hope you enjoyed these. It was a fun, evening and we had wonderfully clear skies after a threat of rain.


marci said...

Wow, truly an awesome set of photos!! (I found your blog from a comment on David Tejada's blog, The f-Stops Here)

Craig Lee said...

Thank you.

It was a great night for the eclipse. I had a lot of fun shooting it and playing around with the camera.