Thursday, 3 September 2015

Lunar Eclipse 2015 Photography

Hey, you want to photograph the Total Lunar Eclipse (TLE) on 27 September 2015? Why not? It is easy and the results can be really great.

Lunar Eclipse
If you have a telescope or long lens, the job is not that complicated. Here is a web site that details Lunar Eclipse photography I wrote some time ago. It is still apropos.

But what if you don't want to use a telescope or telephoto lens? At the very least you will want a tripod or some way to mount the camera steady. Lunar eclipse pictures require a longer exposure and it is too easy to shake or move while the image is being captured. So figure out a way to mount or hold the camera steady. A simple table tripod is all that is needed in most cases.

Tripod and digital camera from parking lot 110mm EFL
The exposure time will vary depending on your lens configuration but expect it to be between half a second and several seconds. You can capture stars in your image with exposures lasting several seconds. This leads to your camera, it needs to be taken out of fully automatic mode (if possible) and set to manual. Same with the focus mechanism if that is an option. Set the focus to infinity and use an initial exposure of two-seconds to see what you get. If your camera has a delay shutter mode, use it. It will steady on the mount for a few seconds and then take the image.

With a camera phone your options are more limited. Modern camera phones can do night time photography, some do it automatically, some try to turn to on the light. Don't put on the light. That is a waste and a bother to everyone else around you. The exception may be to get an image of people looking at the eclipse but even then there may be enough light around to use.
Sunrise Lunar Eclipse from beach in Jamaica

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