Lunar Eclipse... the sunrises projected
On Tuesday (4/15/14) morning... around 2am, CST (<- because I'm not moving), there will be a LUNAR ECLIPSE.
Just in case there is some confusion, a lunar eclipse and a solar eclipse are two different events and cannot happen at the same time.
A lunar eclipse is when the Earth blocks the Sun's rays going to the Moon and reflecting off it's surface. Due to the Earth's atmosphere, the sunlight is diffused and filtered... and it is projected onto the surface of the Moon, causing it to have an orange-ish cast.
A solar eclipse is when the Moon gets between the Sun and the Earth and the moon physically blocks the sunlight going to the Earth. Because the Moon is much smaller than the Earth, the entire shadow moves across causing a definite perceived change in sunlight intensity. It should be stressed that you do not want to directly look at this kind of eclipse with the naked eye, or with sunglasses or directly photograph the sun without substantial light-reduction filtering, on the order of f/96.
Unfortunately, in Chicago. the weather may not cooperate (rain/snow), at the time of this event, and it is going to be back down around freezing. (C'mon, already! Enough with the photographic challenges!)
Anyway, I'm breaking out the telescope, again, and will try to capture the shot. The lens, itself, weighs about 12 pounds (5.5 kg) and the camera adds about 2.5 pounds (1.2 kg) more, requiring a substantial tripod. (Remember to tape at the legs joints, to provide a significant point of safety for long term shoots. Also, the use of the gimbal tripod head is also recommended with larger lenses, for ease of movement. Following the Moon is a constant effort. It does not just sit there, looking cute.
Throw a little luck my way, will ya? There's only so much camera to throw around. ;)
Feeling the lack of heat...
Well, froze my tuckus off... for a couple hours. It's 28-degrees Fahrenheit out there... with fresh snow everywhere. The skies cleared just in time. Man, this was no quick solar eclipse event, that's for sure.
Had to go to 1/4-sec shutter speed, ISO-1600 to get the later images. The lack of light was amazing. Hard on the camera, because the Moon is ripping across the sky and it will become a blur at any thing longer, if the camera is not panning with the Moon. Remember, the Earth rotates at roughly 1000mph... and the Moon keeps on a truckin' from East to West.
Quarter-second Exposure Issues
- When shooting the moon, a 1/4-sec exposure is about the best you can do, with the camera standing still. Again, you only will be at this speed for a lunar eclipse. (Normal Moon settings are SS: 1/320 Aperture: f/8-f/11 ISO: 200)
- If you do use 1/4 second shutter speed, you cannot use the shutter release button. You will need to use an electronic cable or wireless shutter release of some type, because you cannot touch the camera. It shakes with ANY contact. You must wait for the lens to stop quivering. This is a heavy and LOOOOOONNNNGGGGG lens. If you think that regular old hand-shaking is something, you really need to witness this kind of stuff. Forget using the Super Steady-Shot. Any wind at all and you are in big trouble getting a shot. You will need to be shielded from the wind, too, if there is any.
- Also, quick-tracking of the Moon gets a whole rougher, as it dims out. Once again, you are adjusting elevation and azimuth the entire time, so it's:
1) adjust position (as required)
2) wait for lens to quit quivering...
3) shutter release (by cable or wireless)
When you add up the obstacles to the telescopic-shot, it is like real work.
I used the SONY a700, to reduce the telescope's vignetting. It is an APS-C format camera, but mine has the added "Cats-Eye" focusing screen, which makes manual-focusing a whole lot simpler. Unfortunately, that made the telescope effectively a 3048mm f/10 lens. A little too much for entire lunar orb observation. I was pleased with the result, but it was still too cold to be much fun.
Anyway... I hitting the sheets... to warm back up. Brrrr.