2014-10-08

Lunar Eclipse tonight - how to capture it

There is a Lunar eclipse tonight (8th October 2014) which should be visible in some parts of the world, but sadly not the UK. However, if the weather is clear, the full should appear bright and full. .

At 18.42 Greenwich mean time, the Earth will start to pass between the moon and the sun, until it reaches the point - at 19.49 approximately - when the total eclipse will begin.

As the Earth's shadow falls across the surface of the moon, it will turn a deep red.

So, what is the best way to capture the event?


Firstly, try and pick a location where your view of the sky is unobstructed by trees etc.

Then, if possible pick an area to shoot from well away from artificial lights - any light from street lamps etc will 'pollute' the atmosphere and not be helpful in capturing your images.

If you want to capture the complete circle of the moon, then around a 600mm lens in 35mm terms is what you need - so around 400mm in APS-C and 300mm in Micro 4/3rds.

Of course, you may want to show the moon as part of a bigger picture - a landscape for instance - in which case a wider lens would be appropriate.

A sturdy tripod is pretty much essential and the use of a remote control will help to eliminate camera shake. If you don't have a remote release then consider using the self-timer on camera where the shutter fires 2-10 seconds after you push the shutter release - this will eliminate any camera movement caused by pressing the release.

Alternatively, you could go more hi-tech and use a CamRanger Wireless Camera control, which provides wireless live-view, image capture (still or video), camera control, touch focussing, interval control and image transfer, all via your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. This has an operating range of 50 metres, but is currently only compatible with Canon or Nikon DSLRs.

As for exposure, if you have a clear view of the moon before the eclipse you should be able to take an exposure reading or test exposures to get the correct settings. You don't need to stop down your lens for depth of field so try to set a reasonably fast shutter speed.

It may be worthwhile shooting in manual exposure mode and fixing the exposure so that your camera metering is not affected by the dark shape moving across the bright moon.

We would suggest also bracketing you exposures - shooting pictures over and under the suggested exposure to be sure you have one with perfect exposure.

Consider also taking a series of shots a few second apart - a Time-Lapse sequence. Some cameras have a Time-Lapse facility built in which is handy for this situation.

A great idea would be to take a series of shots and then merge them all together in sequence so you have the full moon as your first shot, then the eclipse gradually developing then receding back to a full moon again.

Search for Lunar eclipse with your web browser and look at the many images which come up for inspiration on how to capture this event too!

Of course, capturing a great shot is weather dependent. However, if the sky is clear and you get a great shot, why not share it with us on our Facebook or Google+ pages? We’d love to see your results.

Steve
Park Cameras

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