Jump to content


Imaging a Total Lunar Eclipse - What would you have done differently...?

Recommended Posts

I have really enjoyed looking at all the eclipse images from yesterday.. Given the benefit of hindsight what would you have done differently?

I went to  a fairly dark site with sea level Horizon , I was planning on doing two sets of images..

The first  APS-C sensored Canon 7D II on the 600/f4L IS USM with the 1.4X Extender II  working at 1344mm EFL and f5.6..  The setup was mounted on the NEQ-6 and setup to take shots at regular intervals..

The second was the  Canon 5D III and "various" Lenses (mainly Canon 24-105/f4L IS USM and  Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS USM)  on a static tripod for Atmospheric shots...

In the end I used the 7DII for the first half of the eclipse and switched to the 5D III for the second half..   I should have really stuck with one or the other...

I should have kept a closer eye on the need to tweak the exposure and made more frequent and smaller changes... As the mount was tracking I was able to vary the exposure time until I felt it was too short when I would then increase the ISO...

I should have spent more time setting up the static tripod and 410 Geared head to make sure that it was all perfectly level and made sure there was no camera tilt when shooting at 24mm as a result the Moonlit panos were a bit of a disaster....

Some selected stills from the data I captured are here... http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/253667-super-moon-total-lunar-eclipse-just-a-few/?p=2766527


Link to comment
Share on other sites

What would I have done differently?

Probably spent a bit more time looking at my exposures but I was just far too tired and maybe took my images with the 127mak rather than the Tamron 150-600mm but I was just too tired to carry them out the back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As totality approached I took the last of a series of images that were exposed at ISO400 and 1/500sec.

I then tried some settings for the approaching "red" phase, and ended up with ISO1600 and 1/2sec.

That's when I realised that all the earlier exposures had been exposed to show detail in the moon's illuminated areas, which meant that the shadow was black in every exposure, when at the other setting it would probably have been red.

Next time :-> I will take back-to-back exposures at the two settings, and combine them to give red shadow with almost white moon.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm very regretful that I didn't take any wide field shots. Only many exposures through my 200p with a 600d.

If I get the opportunity again I want my dslr piggybacking with my 75-300mm lens and I'll hopefully have found enough money to have a decent CCD.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What would I have done differently?

For starters I would have used my scope (SW 200) plus web cam to take some photos rather than my Nikon D5100 and 200mm lens.  I knew the eclipse was coming but I just didn't get my backside into gear.  With hindsight I could have easily set up the mount and scope before bed time, then got up at the appointed hour, switched everything on and grabbed loads of frames.  Ah well ... may be next time.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

My decision to use two cameras, side by side was a good one. Although the bridge camera was not as sharp as the 10D on the cope, it just chuntered away getting good images every 30 seconds aside form one battery change and an ISO/exposure shift at the change form partial to total.

I did switch it to a wide frame for a bit, and I do wish I had got more subs like that and also got shots with the horizon in. It might also have been a good idea to have had 'd-lighting' on to reduce the contrast.

As for the DSLR on the scope, my best call was using the edge of the moon to focus (it hasn't got direct view so its shoot, wait, tweak, shoot). I should not have wasted so many mid-transition shots by trying to expose for both bright and dark areas. I later figured the brightness ratio was 9,600:1.

In the long run? Pleased with how it went, if I could do it all over again without losing the shots I did get, I would aim to capture better widefield shots with a static camera, including more horizon, and set up somewhere where I could have imaged the re-appearance of the moon as well.

I must also get another spare battery for the D10!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello there!

There are a few things I'd do differently.

1) I have a cheap 500mm lens with  T-Mount Adaptor for my Nikon D90. I think the results are not too great:  DSC_0008.jpg

2) I tried using a doubler on said lens - this made things even worse than before!

3) The location I thought was good but St Katherine's Wharf is apparently private land even though they allow people along the walk way. I got into an argument with a security guard. That put a damper on things. I think the result was worth it though:


4) I think if I get a better lens around the 500mm mark, I'd use my Polarie star tracker as I think the movement of the Moon could be causing the lack of focus

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used my 70-200mm. Zoomed out to 200mm. The mistake I made was to fiddle taking the lens cap on and off without checking everything each time. I ended up with focal lengths from 163mm to 180mm instead of all at 200mm. When I combined some of the shots to a single composition the Moon was shrinking!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a tip or trick I used...  there was a modest condensation issue and the bridge camera doesn't had a hood/dew shield. obviously an issue leaving it on interval timer for an hour or two.

I made a tube out of an a4 sheet of paper and a bit of duck tape and it worked fine. I might make a proper one from black card and treat it with aeroplane dope for a semi-permanent solution.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.