Pictures from the Lunar Eclipse

On Monday afternoon I read that Monday night/Tuesday morning would be a pretty cool Lunar eclipse.  I decided that would be pretty cool to try and get a photo of.  So I did some quick research to try and figure out the best way to take a picture of the moon.

As it turns out, this would not be a simple as just pointing the camera, zooming in as much as possible and firing off a couple of shots.

My first shot, the bright white, was taken several days earlier during our recent bird trip.  I just thought the moon was really bright that night.  In that shot, everything was easy…Just a white/bright moon.  The picture came out pretty well.

So, for the Lunar eclipse, my plan was to start with a shutter speed of 6 seconds, an ISO of 400, and an f/6, using a 300mm lens and just go from there. 

My very first shot ended up being my best one. However with a 6 second shutter speed, I ended up picking up a bit of blur on the moon and stars due to the earth/moon orbiting.  Pretty cool. I did not anticipate being able to notice this in 6 seconds.

IMG_0891 IMG_1057

So the remainder of the shots were around a 1 second shutter speed, and ISO 400. I was hoping to cut down on the blur and get a clearer shot.  The downside of the faster shutter speed was the darker resulting photos. I tried to adjust the Aperture without too much success.

IMG_1059  IMG_1062

This all happened in the span of about 5 minutes.  I started taking pictures at about 3:10am.  I was hoping to get in a bunch of pictures until I got the right settings.  The full Lunar eclipse was to officially be at 3:17am.  At exactly 3:15am, a huge cloud front blocked out the entire event over Raleigh, NC.  It was pretty cool while it lasted though.


IMG_1063   IMG_1064

For next time: 

  • Practice makes perfect.  Allow plenty of practice time prior to the event to be able to understand how settings will need to be changed. I’m still a newbie with the camera.
  • Importance of a decent Tripod. I have a tall cheap tripod that I got for about $60. This works great for landscapes, wildlife, etc.  However, I spent most of my time adjusting the tripod to focus on the tiny moon in the center of the viewfinder.  This tripod was not very good for incremental adjustments.  Something to consider.

If you took pictures, drop me a comment.  I’d like to find out how to improve my settings for next time.

Thanks for reading!


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