April 4th 2015 - Lunar Eclipse over Melbourne
Melbourne was treated to a spectacular view of the lunar eclipse back in April. The forecast wasn't the greatest but the clouds cleared and we got to view the full sequence of the eclipse.
This photo montage of 7 different views of the moon shows the transition from a full moon to the blood red eclipsed moon over a period of nearly 2 hours. The first frame was taken at 8.59pm and the last one at 10.57pm. I took the photos with my Canon 1D Mark 4 with my 400mm 2.8 lens and a 2x convertor attached, giving me an actual focal length of 1040mm. Even with that kind of reach the moon still only filled about a quarter of my frame.
Taking photos of the moon isn't really that hard but it does take some knowledge of how to control your camera. I'll share some tips here so you can avoid the white blob in a black sky phenomenon. Ill start off with some phone camera tips and then get into using a proper digital camera.
How to shoot the moon with a mobile phone camera
1. Walk to the fridge and help yourself to a can/bottle/glass of your favourite beverage.
2. Post a facebook status about the eclipse.
3. Leave your phone on the kitchen bench.
4. Walk outside and marvel at how awesome our universe is.
Seriously - I love how practical it is having a camera on my phone and I use mine far too frequently but for something like this it just isn't going to get the job done. Leave it in your pocket and just enjoy the view.
How to shoot the moon with your camera
It's not as hard as you might think so here a few tips:
- Set your camera to manual mode. The dark night sky will fool your camera so you need to be able to tell your camera what to do
- Taking photos at night needs a high ISO right? Nope not at all! The moon is a bit of rock that is lit by direct sunlight so keep your ISO low. I use 200 ISO
- Set your aperture to F8 and shutter speed to 1/200th of a second.
- Compose your shot, focus, click then have a look. Is your moon too bright? Increase your shutter speed to 1/400th and try again. Is your moon too dark? Increase your ISO to 400 and try again.
- Keep adjusting settings until you're happy with the exposure for the moon.
- Once you've got your exposure sorted then you're set. You can compose your photos knowing that your moon will be exposed correctly.
There's a little bit of trial and error about it but thats all part of the fun!