Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lunar Eclipse II :: as it happens

Just like the last time I photographed an eclipse of the moon I plan to blog my photos as it happens. Wish me luck and stay tuned.

Camera on Automatic Everything9:30PM July 15th. 2011. The Full Moon is high in the sky and its a lovely clear night, no clouds and no hint of fog (yet) but it is a very cold night. My first attempt at getting a good photo is a disaster. I’ve let the camera do the focusing (and it tracked back & forth a few times) before firing.  The exposure the camera has selected is 0.7sec and aperture f4.5 and ISO set to 400. Out of focus and pretty much a disaster.  The next shot I focussed manually and I get a sharp edged albeit burnt out white disc on an almost black background, still not good enough. Then that moment of dread for most outdoor photographers, as the possums looked on quizzically the camera battery went dead, and I still only have the one rechargeable battery and no useful moon images. Damn, but its ok I’m just in the back yard and there is a charger handy. Back into the warmth for a few hours.

Before & After in Photoshop Elements10:00 PM. I’m interested to see what the photo packages think of my first photo. Windows Live gallery’s  Auto-adjust seems to think everything is ok, I can no see any difference after I’ve used it. Picasa’s I’m feeling lucky darked the image a little, so the flaring is a little less obvious. Adobe's Photoshop Element’s Smart Fix, somewhat surprisingly, lightens the image a lot, so it really looks patchy and even more out of focus. Yuk. So much for the automatic stuff and all that technology. The real photography will need to start now.

11:00 PM Batteries still charging, sky still clear some stars flickering.

IMGP7321MIDNIGHT Battery charged, at last. Manual focus this time and remote shutter button. Quick experiment with exposures 1/125 second at f32 but still ISO400, seems to give a clear reference picture of the full moon straight above me now. However the stars are not so bright as before, Hope its the brightness of the moon causing this and not a volcanic dust haze starting. No fog but its really cold now. Into a warm bed until 5:00 am.


IMGP7367IMGP7346:5:00 AM July 16th. 2011 Already missed a good part of the eclipse. The moon is starting to take on the red glow and the star are coming out. the next three images are at different times. Hoevr your mouse over them to see the time. Very long exposures now (up to 20 seconds and ISO 1600, hence the “noise”)



5:20AM 5:29 AM 5:18 AM Very Dark now, hard to focus

IMGP7470IMGP74716:30AM, The moon’s fully eclipsed outline is hard to see now and dropping out of my view behind trees and roof to the west. The  predawn is lighting the sky in the east. Time for a new vantage point. So much traffic on east link, deafening, sounds like peak hour is early today or is it the still conditions amplifying the sound?

7:00 AM I abandon my search for a better vantage point. The sun is coming up now and the moon has slipped behind the local horizon. That’s all folks.

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