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Old 04-17-2014, 10:16 PM   #1
Xcelratr
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Lunar Eclipse pics

There was a total lunar eclipse on Monday night/Tuesday morning. I went out to Palos Verdes to get a little bit away from the city lights and took some pics.

I had mostly clear skies during the initial phase, but just as totality started, a bunch of clouds blew in, so I decided to call it a night. When I got home, the skies had cleared, so I took a few additional shots of totality, but they're from a different location.

Nikon D80, AF-S DX VR Zoom-NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED at max zoom. All shots are taken on Manual with max aperture (5.6).

Re: shutter speed and ISO, this experience provided an interesting conundrum. Early on, I was surprised to find that I was getting good exposures at ISO 400 and with a much faster shutter speed than I'd have thought. The early pics are all at 1/2,000 sec. However, I didn't anticipate how much dimmer the moon would get (derp).

So I realized that I could either A) keep the same settings and hopefully get a set of pics that would represent the change in luminosity but with the later shots being really dim, or B) change the settings over the course of the night to maintain the brightness but not represent how much dimmer the moon looked to the eye. I ended up trying higher ISO (800) and slower shutter speeds as the moon got dimmer, but didn't do a great job so the later pics aren't that great.

These pics are each taken about 5 minutes apart from each other.









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Old 04-17-2014, 10:17 PM   #2
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:19 PM   #3
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This is where I didn't do a great job with camera settings, so the quality degrades and starts to vary a lot.









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Old 04-17-2014, 10:19 PM   #4
Xcelratr
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Totality:


The bright spot on the right is Spica, a blue giant:


Spica near the moon, I think the bright spot at the top right is Saturn:
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:01 PM   #5
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nice!!
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:06 PM   #6
KieranG
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This is seriously impressive
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:06 PM   #7
wildirish317
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Damn nice photos. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 04-19-2014, 12:14 AM   #8
Xcelratr
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Thanks for the kind words, all.

There's another lunar eclipse in October: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/OH/OH20...l#LE2014Oct08T If you're a supergeek like me, add it to your calendar now so you don't forget. LOL

If the weather is good, I look forward to shooting that one, too. Supposed to be even better because the moon will be bigger.

As a result of my experience this time, two things I'll probably do differently.

- I may look into renting a 300mm or 400mm lens for the night.

- I'll try to take two concurrent series of pics. One series will be with a fixed setting combo all night, and the other series I'll adjust the settings each time to try to get the best pic for the moment. Since taking the pics about 5 minutes apart seems to work out OK, that gives me plenty of time to shoot/look/adjust.

Thanks again for the comments.
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