Thoughts on lunar eclipse photography
Well, you've all seen them - maybe including mine (clickable at left) Full lunar eclipse - images showing the golden tones of a lunar eclipse. So, having now photographed a couple of eclipses, here is a set of images from last night's event, with some observations.

First of all, the name for it. Apparently we had a "Super Flower Blood Moon" eclipse: which leads me to ask who comes up with these strange names? I have no idea on the "flower" part of the title, but the "Super" apparently was because the moon was at or close to its perigee, the closest it approaches Earth in its orbital motion. The "Blood Moon" bit is because of the red colour of light reaching the moon, diffracted through the sunset part of the Earth's atmosphere.

Let's be clear though, what an eclipse like this means is that the moon is in shadow. There is a huge contrast between the "lit" and the "shadow" parts. Yes, it can be made out with the naked eye, as can the colour. That said though, it's pretty dark and any photo exposed for the dark area will be vastly overexposed for the "lit" part. It's a bit like trying to get a photo of both parts of a half moon. What it all means is that the photographer needs to update the settings constantly, due to changes in the extent of the eclipse.

So, having given all that background, here are some photos with brief notes. I should mention at the start that these were all taken with an old manual RMC Tokina 1/5.6 400mm lens. The end result is that the exif does not record the aperture setting and I was changing it to meet the changing needs of the images, so I'm sorry but I don't have a record for that. I also should note that these images were taken with a full frame camera set in "crop" (APS-C) mode and then were cropped further in processing.

The first image is one I posted on ipernity shortly after the eclipse, when it was late at night and I wanted to get a photo up before heading to bed. Early stage, lunar eclipse It was taken early in the eclipse with a shutter speed of 1/320 and an ISO of 200. (this is clickable)

SMALL IMGP9993-1 1/125 ISO 400

SMALL IMGP0012-1 1/50 ISO 1600

SMALL IMGP0012-1 1/15 ISO 1600

SMALL IMGP0018-1 0.25 sec ISO 3200

SMALL-IMGP0035-1 0.3 sec ISO 1600

SMALL IMGP0046-1 1/100 ISO 800

SMALL-IMGP0055-1 1/125 ISO 100

If someone finds this useful, then this article will have served its purpose. Good luck with your eclipse shots. George


Ko Hummel said:

Yes these strange names. They didn't exist a couple of years ago. Apperently it makes it more interesting
18 months ago

Malik Raoulda said:

Admirable et remarquable travail..!
18 months ago ( translate )

Amelia said:

Thank you George.
18 months ago

Tanja - Loughcrew said:

Thanks for showing this to us George...I´m really glad you had the chance to see and capture it!
Blutmond...Supermond...in german...the more dramatic the more interesting it is :)
18 months ago

uwschu said:

schöne Serie, George
18 months ago ( translate )

Diana Australis said:

This is very interesting, George. You did a fantastic photography job on them! I am most impressed.
Love and apologies for late note…..not been online too much of late.❤️
17 months ago