Total Lunar Eclipse - late night shoot

  • April 15, 2014 · 1:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

This is a mid-week meetup on Tuesday, very early morning (or late night Monday, if you want to think of it that way). Check here for weather updates!

We will meet at Point Judith lighthouse for its clear south-westerly view without much light pollution, which is also a good object to photograph by itself. Plenty o' parking is right at the lighthouse.

A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth moves exactly between sun and moon and casts a shadow on the moon. This day will see a total eclipse, i.e. Earth's shadow will completely cover the full moon. If we have clear skies, this should be rather spectacular. 

Very useful tips and more links on how to shoot the moon during the eclipse from one of the masters.

And check here for an explanation of what exactly the "blood moon" is. 

And watch the cool movie at the bottom of this page.

The partial phase will begin at 1:58 a.m., hence the late meetup time. Totality occurs at 3:06 a.m. and ends at 4:24 a.m. The moon rises at 7 p.m. on Monday and sets at 6:10 on Tuesday, while the outgoing partial phase is still underway.

Suggested equipment:

The longest zoom lens you have, perhaps with a tele-converter on top of that. I will be bringing my Sigma[masked] mm and 2x converter for a total 800mm reach, which fills about a quarter of my frame. Below is a photo that I took with that setup. Remember that any cropped-frame sensor will extend the reach of your zooms by 1.5 or 1.6 or 2x, depending on which model camera you have. A 300mm lens becomes a 450mm or 600mm lens on cropped sensor cameras. Also bring a very wide angle lens if you want to shoot the lighthouse.

Bring warm layers, it may get chilly in early April. Hot fluids will be a welcome break on what will be a long night. Bring a mat and sleeping bag, if you want to let your camera click away (as I plan to do). And tell your manager you will be in late on Tuesday. :) 

How to shoot the moon?

Sturdy tripod and a remote shutter release, which minimizes camera shake. the long lens will give you quite a bit of shake and you can minimize it by using the mirror-up feature, wait 5 seconds, then trigger the shutter. Set white balance to daylight or[masked]K, set your shutter speed to 1/250th or shorter to make sure you get tack-sharp images (longer is OK if your lens is less than 300 mm) and crank up the ISO to get a well exposed image. You may want to practice the night before to get a feeling for the settings for your particular equipment.

It will be cool to document the eclipse with a series of identical shots showing the gradual coverage and release, but the decisive moment will be the full eclipse, when the moon will only show its dark appearance, without any sunlight hitting it. Exposure settings will dramatically change that moment, so be prepared for it (e.g. by cranking up the ISO by 4 stops or such).

When completely obscured, we will probably see star Spica, a 0.95 magnitude star very close by and Mars, which is also close that night, will pop with its -1.2 magnitude (lower number, brighter object, full moon is -12).

The Point Judith lighthouse beach has quite a bit of space to spread out and a natural (??) breakline extending into the ocean, making for good foregrounds for regular night sky shooting.

Blood moon, the moon will turn sunset red for almost an hour when it is fully obstructed.


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  • Julian

    Hi, everybody.
    I'm officially the Newest member of the Club.
    Ready to shoot the Moon .

    "Shoot for the Moon , even if You Missed, You will Land between the Stars "

    April 14, 2014

    • Jurgen M L.

      ...or at least in the clouds... :-) Welcome and I hope to meet you later.

      April 14, 2014

  • Jurgen M L.

    OK, people, weather forecast hasn't changed. It will be cloudy and starting 4 a.m. a 30% chance of showers. Windy at 17 mph and we have a chance for some fog, too. The meetup is ON and will happen, I will be there and hopefully see some of you die-hards. The location was chosen for the lighthouse, so that we can take photos regardless of clouds. Foggy lighthouse would be awesome and I agree with Christine that you miss the shots you don't take. :-) I'll see you at 1 a.m. !

    April 14, 2014

    • Jurgen M L.

      I should mention that this meetup is really a qualification test for the "'advanced night photographer" certification... :-)

      April 14, 2014

  • Christine R

    Last time I went on a night shoot in sketchy weather, I got amazing shots of a hot air balloon with fireworks and lightning in the background. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take...I'll be there rain or shine!

    1 · April 14, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi, I'm going to change my RSVP -- sorry. (my folks live in southern RI...it's warm about 57 degrees and very windy...there is a gale wind alert for Narragansett / Pt Judith. Latest hourly report: 11 p.m. Mostly Cloudy 12a.m. - 3a.m. Cloudy 4a.m. Few Showers)

    April 14, 2014

  • Andre M.

    Too much of a gamble on the weather for me, sitting this one out.

    April 14, 2014

  • Andre L.

    This sounds awesome!

    March 28, 2014

  • Elizabeth R.

    This sounds great!

    January 15, 2014

4 went

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Rafaël

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

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