A lunar eclipse (why is the media calling it a “blood moon” now?) is just about my favorite thing to point my camera at. I learned about the April 14/15 lunar eclipse just a few days before it happened. Guess I wasn’t paying attention to news sites. Still, it was enough time to form a plan.
I wanted some dark skies. New Mexico has them, but near Albuquerque, they’re getting less dark all the time. I wanted to drive and get some good blackness. But where to go? The mountains? A couple hours down the freeway? White Sands?
The Very Large Array? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. A plan formed.
The VLA is about 2 hours from my front door. It seemed like just the thing. The sky would be dark and maybe I could get a shot with the moon and a dish.
I topped Sharka up with gas, grabbed a tripod, and hit the road.
I need to mention Sharka’s headlights. They’re the Moss low pros with a wiring mod to let all four shine together. And good goddamn, they’re excellent. The sun truly comes out in front of the car. I mean, they’re great around town and all, but it’s not till I’m somewhere that’s actually DARK that I can fully appreciate these lights.
Thanks to these headlights, Sharka didn’t get crunched in the hands (ass?) of the local house-sized elk. Seriously. Huge. They could have been moose (mice? Meeces?) or even very large horses. Never seen so many or so large. But I digress.
We finally got out to the VLA and waited. And then the magic happened. Nearly two hours of total lunar eclipse. It was incredible.
About 300 miles of driving. Staying up all night. Shivering. Dodging elk.
So worth it.
My email has been overflowing since posting this. By popular request, here’s a couple desktop sized photos. Enjoy! (Right click, save image.)
That looks fantastic. I too stayed up to watch the eclipse last night (though I was staring out my bay window in my pajamas in the dark). Your method definitely looks more fun. Wish I could have been there!
It was a little lonely out there. And dark. And quiet. But it was SO much fun! Thanks for the complements.
Beautiful shots Adam, the last shot was immediately saved to my screensaver folder; thank you!
Can I ask what method you used to get the full star field and the light from Sharka?
Was it a super long exposure, low ISO, wide aperture shot with the car’s lights turned on close to the end?
Really enjoy coming back here time and time again 🙂
Thanks Paul! I’ve updated the post with some larger versions of the 3 good shots. Better for screensavers. 🙂
All of these shots are composites. One exposure for the moon, one for the stars, and one for the background (if there is one). Then they just get layered in photoshop. Much easier (and better results) than running into the frame to turn on the lights at the end. Though I’ve tried that kind of thing too.
Thanks again, I’ve updated my wallpaper folder accordingly 😉
Thanks for the information about the photo too, I suppose compositing makes a lot more sense rather than trying to achieve the whole effect in camera; I once did a 20 minute exposure, walked over to turn on the car’s lights and ended up knocking the tripod. A big ole sulk ensued 😀