Lunar Eclipse Photography
Jan. 20, 2019
The “Super Blood Wolf Moon” lunar eclipse was on Jan. 20, 2019. I really wanted the opportunity to do some lunar eclipse photography. For once I had clear skies in NE Florida. This is how I got this photo of the event.
The forecast for the day was sunny and clear with falling temperatures. All morning I was thinking someone must have been playing a cruel joke on me. The weather app on my phone said it was sunny for hours, but all I could see was grey overcast all morning.
This is one of the unfortunate side effects of living on the Gulf Coast; lots of clouds during sky events. However, my luck was about to change.
I began seeing breaks in the clouds around 2pm. By 3:30pm the sky was crystal clear with not a cloud in sight. Now it was time to get out my equipment and test it out.
I rolled out my telescope and mounted my Canon 70D camera with a T-mount to the eyepiece. This basically turns the telescope into
Now that I know everything is in working order and all the batteries are charged I just have to wait for nightfall.
Once it was dark enough to see Polaris (The North Star) I set out to polar align the telescope. This would allow the mount to track the moon during the eclipse so I could concentrate on shooting.
Once I had the mount aligned and tracking I swung it around to the moon and centered it on the eyepiece of the camera. I took my first test shot as the moon cleared the trees.
This shot confirmed the focus was spot on and now all I needed to do was wait for the eclipse to begin.
This shot does bring up an interesting point also. This is why photos of the full moon lack depth and look flat. Since the moon is being illuminated by the sun from straight ahead, it looks flat and there are no shadows to show the landscape.
I went inside to warm up knowing the mount would continue to track the moon until the eclipse began.
I took this shot at the beginning of the eclipse as the moon began to move into the main part of the Earth’s shadow.
As the eclipse progressed I had to adjust the settings to get a proper exposure.
For the initial shot of the full moon above I was using Shutter Priority at 1/1250 sec and ISO 200.
As the eclipse progressed I left the ISO at 200 to control noise and increased the shutter speed to get the exposure.
This shot at totality was taken with a shutter speed of 5 seconds.
So as you can see there are a number of ways to approach this. Due to using a T-mount with the telescope you are unable to use Aperture Priority since there isn’t an aperture for the camera to control.
This isn’t an issue though, because for astrophotography you normally are shooting long exposures and high ISO to gather all the light you possibly can.
I was really happy the clouds cleared and I was able to use my telescope and backup camera to shoot some awesome photos of this event. There won’t be another blood supermoon visible over the US until 2022.
Let me know what you think in the comments section below.