This Saturday, December 10th, there will be a total eclipse of the Moon, visible from western North America, and much of Asia and Australia. To see it in the western US, you’ll have to wake up pretty early (about 4:45 AM PST if you want to see the entire show), but it’s well worth it.
In a total eclipse, the Moon turns bright red (due to the way the light from the Sun is scattered as it passes through our atmosphere), and it’s truly a beautiful site. In fact, it was a lunar eclipse that originally inspired me to get a digital SLR 🙂
If you’re interested in photographing the eclipse, check out this great blog post by Michael Frye. He offers some good tips, especially about exposure.
I haven’t shot many photos of the Moon, but I would recommend paying close attention to your shutter speed. The Moon orbits the Earth pretty quickly, so you’ll want a fairly fast shutter speed (and, don’t be afraid to increase your ISO to get that faster shutter).
If you zoom in on your photos, and notice the Moon isn’t very sharp, it’s likely because:
- Your shutter isn’t fast enough (the Moon is moving across your image sensor and resulting in a blurry image).
- Your lens isn’t focused on the moon (try zooming in on live view to get precise focus).
- The Moon isn’t taking up enough space in your frame (usually a lens of 300mm or longer will make the Moon big enough to see some nice detail).
And, don’t worry, if you miss this lunar eclipse, there’s another total eclipse coming up in April of 2014, which will be visible from most of the US and much of South America 🙂
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About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, computer scientist, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of Southern California.