A Big Night for the Moon Part II

Author: Beth Ruggiero-York

In my last blog post, I gave you the details and timing of the upcoming lunar eclipse. In this post, I’ll help you get started with the process of photographing a lunar eclipse.

Photographing a lunar eclipse is easy and fun. No special filters or glasses for your eyes are needed as with solar eclipses. It is safe to watch the moon eclipsing with the naked eye. The choice of lens for the lunar eclipse will depend on your composition. If you want an image of just the moon without any landscape/foreground features, then the same technique as shooting the full moon rising applies— use your longest lens, preferably mounted on a crop-sensor camera, with a teleconverter. If you don’t have a crop-sensor camera or a teleconverter, that’s okay. Just use your longest lens.

Lunar eclipse

If you want to shoot the lunar eclipse with a foreground, then a wider lens is needed. The objective of this type of image is to include context with the eclipsing moon, such as an interesting building, cityscape, natural landscape. Start with an ISO of about 400 at your widest aperture and take test shots ranging from 5 to 30 seconds. Of course, the moon will appear as a much smaller element in the image, but it will still stand out depending on placement of the other elements of the composition.

For answers to all your questions about night photography, check out my new book, Fun in the Dark: A Guide to Successful Night Photography.

Beth Ruggiero-York  is an instructor for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

A Big Night for the Moon

Author: Beth Ruggiero-York

We have an important night coming, or rather, the moon has an important night coming. On September 27-28, the full moon will be at its perigee when it rises – perigee is when the moon is at its closest point to earth in its orbit – making it appear larger. It’s a “supermoon.” And if you are in North or South America, Europe, Africa, or the Middle East, you get a bonus, a BIG bonus. The full moon, earth, and sun will be aligned. In other words, a full lunar eclipse! As the three align into total eclipse, the moon moves into the shadow of the earth and takes on a dramatic copper-colored glow.

A Big Night for the Moon

Depending on where you are on earth, the times of the eclipse stages will be different. I will give the times in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and let you do the conversion (e.g., Arizona is GMT minus 7 hours, so for Arizonans, the eclipse will occur on September 27th).

 

Lunar Eclipse Stage Time (GMT)

September 28, 2015

   
Penumbral eclipse begins 12:11 AM
Partial eclipse begins 1:07 AM
Total eclipse begins 2:11 AM
Peak total eclipse 2:47 AM
Total eclipse ends 3:23 AM
Partial eclipse ends 4:27 AM
Penumbral eclipse ends 5:22 AM

If the skies are clear or even partly clear where you live, don’t miss this rare show. The next full lunar eclipse won’t happen again until January of 2018.

Keep an eye out for a future post with Beth’s recommendations for photographing the eclipse. Stay tuned!

For answers to all your questions about night photography, check out her new book, Fun in the Dark: A Guide to Successful Night Photography.

Beth Ruggiero-York  is an instructor for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.