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Capture the Total Lunar Eclipse

  • Apr 14, 2014 · 11:00 PM
  • Your Yard, Sidewalk or Driveway

                                      Airplane crosses a partially eclipsed moon.

On the evening of the 14th the Moon will be full and eclipsed by the earth. The maximum (midpoint) of the total eclipse occurs just before midnight. Here is a chart from Nasa followed by times in Pacific Daylight time and Universal time. Do note that the date of the 15th is UTC, the time it will be in London. Londoners will not be able to see this eclipse except for the penumbral stage.

•  8:53 PM PDT / 04:53:37 UT Penumbral Eclipse Begins

•  9:58 PM PDT / 05:58:19 UT Partial Eclipse Begins

• 11:06 PM PDT / 07:06:47 UT Total Eclipse Begins

• 11:45 PM PDT / 07:45:40 UT  Greatest Eclipse

• 12:24 AM PDT / 08:24:35 UT Total Eclipse Ends

•  1:33 AM PDT / 09:33:04 UT Partial Eclipse Ends 

•  2:37 AM PDT / 10:37:37 UT Penumbral Eclipse Ends


Because the moon will be almost directly overhead for us in California, it will be very difficult to get anything BUT the moon in the shot during totality. Moreover, if you can compose the shot in a way to get something else in it (like looking up from the base of a tall building), your foreground is likely to be way out of focus and the moon will appear small.  THEREFORE we at recommend the following course of action:

Get your largest Telephoto lens and/or Telescope and attempt to capture the moon alone.  How large? Anything up to 2000 mm, but preferably larger than 100mm. The good news is that totality lasts quite long - about an hour and a half so you have plenty of time to takes shots while waiting for clouds to drift through or away.

                       Thin clouds make a halo around a totally eclipsed moon

What Settings?

A normal moon exposure to get detail is on the order of f/9, ISO 200, 1/100th of a second, however the ECLIPSED moon will require much higher ISO and a longer exposure which may result in some smearing of lunar details. What settings?  f/5.6, ISO 1000, 2 seconds

Creative Ideas To Consider

Using a wider lens, you can attempt to capture the moon as it enters and/or exits totality.  Take shots every 2 minutes (or more frequently) and you can then combine them to form a sequence like this.

See the articles here and here.  These shots of the sun were taken about every 30 seconds, but I only combined shots that were taken four minutes apart.

                                        Sequence of an Annular Solar Eclipse

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  • John J.

    Unfortunately had fog

    April 16, 2014

  • Fabián

    Uuuuhhh Aaaahhh!!!

    April 16, 2014

  • Shirley T.

    It came pretty good. I got some nice shots.

    April 15, 2014

  • Bruce D.

    It was interesting to watch.

    April 15, 2014

  • Vani

    Beautiful view of the total eclipse from backyard.. Thanks for the tips on settings!

    April 15, 2014

  • Kevin M.

    You messed up converting UT to PDT. Partial eclipse is starting now (10:58 PM PDT), not an hour ago!!!

    PDT = UT - 7 hrs, for future reference
    PST = UT - 8 hrs

    April 14, 2014

  • Laura Northrup P.

    I hope you guys have a better view than me! We are having snow here (in Indiana), and the sky is too cloudy to see the moon at all :(

    April 14, 2014

  • Syed A. N.

    It's cloudy in San Jose, South

    April 14, 2014

    • Tarun K.

      were you shooting at?

      April 14, 2014

  • Uday Kiran M.

    I am planning to go to the Monte bello open space preserve area on Page mill road. Let me know if anyone is interested to join there.

    1 · April 14, 2014

  • Laura

    Are the times listed correct? If I am doing time zone translations correctly, the time table should be an hour later. Articles I'm reading say that the total eclipse starts at 3:06EDT which should be 12:06PDT, right?

    April 14, 2014

  • jyotsna

    What is the plan ? Are we meeting up at some place for a photo shot ? Regards Jyotsna

    April 13, 2014

  • Christine C.

    You are total class Steve! Being here in AZ I miss going out on photo shoots with this group. I will have to start a meetup group of my own here. Perhaps you will consider a trip to Prescott, AZ and be our special guest speaker.

    April 13, 2014

  • Shirley T.

    Thanks for sharing the setting?

    1 · April 10, 2014

  • Preeti P.

    Very helpful advice on the camera settings.

    April 7, 2014

  • Joolz H.

    Thank you for the tips Stephen!

    April 5, 2014

  • Steven C.

    Please remember to post your photos after the event!

    March 15, 2014

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