Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse Images and Tips on How to Take Them

 Today is December 21, 2010. Winter Solstice. Very early this morning some of us got to witness the last total lunar eclipse of the year. I was lucky enough to have that opportunity, to watch the total lunar eclipse of December 21, 2010, as it unveiled its magic over the Jersey skies.  So, I'd like to share here a few notes I made to self based on this extraordinary experience.

 The night was long, because it was the night before the winter solstice. Therefore, the moon traveled high in the sky and I had to wait for it until I could see it from my balcony.

The night was crystal clear and dark. Unfortunately, I didn't have any landmark that I could use in the pictures, just the pitch-dark sky and some stars, here and there... maybe I SHOULD have gotten out of the house and not take the easy way out of just stepping out on the balcony. And then, again, it was cold and windy and the middle of the night... (excuses, excuses). Long story short, if you can find a good location, something that would tell the place where the image was taken, it's great; if not, just try to get stars or clouds or a moving object (like a plane) in the image.

 First things first. To shoot the lunar eclipse, I got my tripod ready. Also the longest lens that I own (and found out was not enough, not even close) my 70-200mm. [while taking the images, it crossed my mind that a 200-400mm (or longer) would be a fantastic investment if I want to keep shooting the sky at night...]

Last night was cold, so, even if you only step outside on the balcony (like I did), don't do it without coat, gloves, hood, etc. I ended up staying out in the freezing temps and wind for almost the entire duration of the total eclipse, which was a bit more than an hour. That, while already struggling to get over a cold (the exercise was worth it, though). Also, wear something comfortable. Take breaks, go inside (if possible) to warm up. You do have time. While the sun eclipse lasts only minutes, the lunar eclipse can last about an hour. During the total lunar eclipse, you get to see the Moon shadowed by the Earth. To me, it looked like a... planet from some sci-fi movie, very... round, so to speak, illuminated from the far side, just enough to enhance its 3D aspect. Also, the color is, indeed, copper-y read.

Definitely worth the freeze and lack of sleep. Hope you enjoyed your eclipse experience.
As always, thanks for visiting!

Alina Oswald

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