Well, I was so excited to have the opportunity this year to make an attempt at the Lunar Eclipse! So days leading up to the event, as with every other photographer or Astral Enthusiast, hoping for clear Jan skies. The whole event was to last approx 4 hours. I’m in Central Virginia, so the start was around 22:30 Sunday night til about 02:30 Monday morning, with the peak of the eclipse (and ‘Blood Moon’) starting at 00:12 Monday.
EXCERPT FROM SPACE.COM: The Jan. 20-21, 2019 total lunar eclipse will last 1 hour and 2 minutes, according to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center lunar eclipse projections.
The full experience, from the start of the partial eclipse to the end, will last 3 hours and 17 minutes.
The peak of the total lunar eclipse will happen shortly after day’s end on Sunday, Jan. 20, on the U.S. east coast, at 12:16 a.m. EST (0516 GMT) on Monday, Jan. 21. This peak is also known as the “greatest eclipse” and is defined as the moment when the moon comes closest to the axis of Earth’s shadow.
So, while my image may not be unique by any true sense, as a photographer it really is kewl to know that ‘hey; yes I actually captured this.’ I’ve been stretching my skills a lot over the past two years since moving to Central Virginia and starting a photography club. It’s quite humorous to me at times that the most involved/interactive member of the club is actually in Kent, United Kingdom! He participates in almost every single event I post – and yes–that included the Eclipse Event. Yes he was up at 04:00 or 05:00 (UK time) with his iPhone, cheering on the eclipse and me! lol.
So, as 20:00 approached I began to try some test shots, but the skies were hazy and moist, so I was feeling concerned as to whether I was going to have good crisp results (the prelim shots were not optimal) but wouldn’t you know as the hours approached, the atmosphere cleared!
My methodology to capture this was right off my back deck, on a tripod. Of course the initial shots were handheld. Shot in RAW+f, Camera set to M (Manual) other settings to start were ISO 200, 1/125 sec, F20. I maintained the ISO 200, throughout, I used my 55-300 Zoom lens set at 300mm, once focused in, I switched off the Auto Focus. I’d heard that some folks tape the focus ring at that point, so as not to knock it out, but I didn’t do that. (Mind you it was 16* F not very tape conducive weather). Once the moon was in the height of the eclipse, my exposures were at f11 and 1 second and 2.5 seconds.
At one point I switched my lens to my 14mm prime to just capture the whole entirety of the clear sky, knowing the moon would be but a small dot, BUT, I was able to then use that image as a background for my final art renderings below. I also time-marked the moon in that capture, so you can see how the 14mm prime lens is great for stars, but not for this moon… so tiny! normally at a full moon, one wouldn’t necessarily be shooting stars, but at the peak of the eclipse, the moon is not bright, ya? 🙂
The ambiance at Artsy’s Atelier? Hot cocoa, ice teas, snacks, wood stove blazing, CD’s blasting (with my new Sony soundbar) TobyMac, Chris Tomlin, Katy Perry, Adele, and then at the end Frank Sinatra… I tell ya, it felt like my own private NYE party going on! Don’t tell anyone but I was dancing around my living room – haha (Shhh!– that’s just between you and me ;))
Club Member Allan engaged with me on messenger, I got a message from Will, and I later learned Sarah was watching the eclipse as well.
I finally couldn’t keep my eyes open much more come 02:00, and shut everything down, crashed. Slept in til about 09:00 Monday (had scheduled the day off from work), then even proceeded to fall asleep while editing pix that afternoon around 16:00. Woke up at 20:00 and finished the edits, now posting this.
I’m thrilled that I was able to capture this, what an amazing experience. For me though, it was the post production and art element of creating my final image below, that really made this a truly memorable event. Hope you enjoy my resultant creation. The images below are the low-res versions, so they load faster on your media.
Blessings and Snaps,