Lunar Eclipse

I took some pictures of the lunar eclipse back in February, and I’m just now posting them to flickr. I’m kinda new to this digital photography thing.

That was the night of the spaghetti dinner and silent auction at my kids’ school, which Gail and other members of the school council spent weeks organizing. During the evening, I was talking to the father of one of Ryan’s friends, and he mentioned the eclipse that was happening that night. I had no knowledge of this at all, so I was glad he told me. When we got home and I got the boys to bed, I grabbed the camera and tripod and set it up in the kitchen. We also have a little trigger thing that attaches to the camera so you can take a picture without touching the camera itself — I figured this was a good idea since I turned the flash off, so the exposure time might be longer, and if I was holding the camera it would be shaky. I centered the camera on the moon, zoomed in as far as I could (200mm lens), and took a couple. With the tripod, the camera already centered on the moon, and the trigger, I was all set. All I had to do was go into the kitchen every five minutes or so, hit the trigger, and that’s it.

Five minutes after I took the first picture, I went back into the kitchen and looked through the viewfinder, just to make sure I was still centered on the moon. I wasn’t, so I re-centered and took another picture.

Five minutes after that, I did the same thing, found that, again, I was not centered, so I re-centered and took another one. I figured that I must have bumped the camera or tripod without noticing, so I was extra careful this time.

Another five minutes passed, and I went to take another picture. Sure enough, the camera was no longer centered. I scratched my head and re-adjusted again and then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

The moon moves.

I had to re-adjust the camera and tripod before every picture, of course, and eventually the moon got high enough in the sky that I was getting reflections off of the kitchen windows, so I moved the tripod out to the deck. Luckily there were only patches of snow at the time, so I could go outside in my socks every few minutes without getting wet. As we moved towards totality, the exposure time kept increasing; between 9:32 and 9:55, exposure time went from 0.4 seconds to 4 seconds, and by 10:18 it was at 15 seconds. At 10:52 it was still 13 seconds, but at 11:15, it was back down to 2.

There are nicer and clearer pictures of the eclipse out there, but I’m pretty happy with mine. Here is a very cool video made up of a series of excellent pictures of the eclipse, though this guy is a much better photographer than I am, since he managed to keep the moon centered the whole time. Maybe the moon doesn’t move where he is.


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