Lori Carey Photography

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

If I seem a little foggy today it's because I stayed up all night to photograph the lunar eclipse. This was my first try at it, and I don't really have a long enough lens, but I gave it a valiant effort with my Canon 70-200mm IS USM and 1.4x TC. In hindsight, I think my crops would've been sharper if I left the TC off, but that's something to remember for the next eclipse in March 2008.

Eoren1 posted this great exposure guide on dgrin that I spent some time studying:

I found this Danjon Scale of Brightness at Sky and Telescope Magazine's website:

Danjon Scale of Brightness
L Value Description
0 Very dark eclipse, Moon almost invisible,
especially at midtotality.
1 Dark eclipse, gray or brownish coloration;
details distinguishable only with difficulty.
2 Deep red or rust-colored eclipse, with a
very dark central part in the umbra and
the outer rim of the umbra relatively bright.
3 Brick-red eclipse, usually with a bright
or yellow rim to the umbra.
4 Very bright copper-red or orange eclipse,
with a bluish, very bright umbral rim.

After doing some research on the required shutter speed to minimize (hopefully eliminate) movement of the moon, I decided to use ISO 400 and f/5.6. In my amateur's judgement the "L" didn't quite make it to 2 last night from my viewing location, although it did vary somewhat in brightness throughout the display. I wasn't about to go somewhere remote by myself at 2:00am, so I started in the front of my house and finished in the back, which meant I had light pollution from the neighbor's homes, a streetlight, and the usual SoCal light pollution.

It was really strange when the eclipse entered totality; all of sudden one realized that the moon was a huge round rock in the sky. I mean, my brain always knew that, but without the reflection of the sun the moon took on a new dimensionality that looked surreal. Despite the fact that my brain comprehends the realities of the laws of gravity, it was just strange to see this huge round rock impossibly hanging in the sky.

All in all I was pretty happy with the results considering my equipment and the circumstances. Here is one of my totality shots:

You can view the rest of my eclipse gallery here.

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