I tried to capture the previous Blood Moon earlier this year in April, however it was not a very fulfilling exercise. There was only so much I could do with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, even with the EF 2x Extender III attached and even with the 7D’s crop factor. The shots I got weren’t very pleasing and in my mind, not even worth writing a post about.
Since then I acquired a fully assembled set of astrophotography gear and accessories. I discussed this a little in previous posts Astrophotography: The journey begins and Astrophotography: Solar Observation.
Up until last night I had been dreading the steep learning curve and painful process involved in learning to properly align a German Equatorial Mount with computerized tracking. The Blood Moon was a good reason to dive into it and see if I could figure it out. I got an early start. My first setup and calibration took at least an hour and I got a solid track on the moon.
However the moon had not yet crossed the sky and when it did I had to re align the telescope mount. My second alignment took half the time but was less than perfect and I still had some drift. It was still small enough for me to compensate for in post production.
With tracking somewhat sorted out, I had another challenge of managing the wild swings in exposures throughout the eclipse. You will notice I had to segment the time lapse as I made adjustments. I used spot metering, shutter priority mode with auto ISO throughout most of the sequence and stepped my shutter exposure as the eclipse progressed, switching to manual mode briefly at the peak of the eclipse. As you can see I did not place much emphasis on image quality. Since it was a time lapse, I also set a higher maximum ISO as the clarity and quality of the individual frame is not as important as the consistency of the sequence from frame-to-frame.
I hope you enjoy this time lapse. Please feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, suggestions and experiences, especially with GE mounts and photography.
Blood Moon – Lunar Eclipse (October 8, 2014)
Finally got all the TL frames processed – all 7500 of them LOL. The frames were shot over two photo excursions to the San Francisco Bay. I posted earlier about these two trips here:
It took me a while to find a soundtrack that channeled (or at least came close) the energy of the experience for me. The music is composed by Ben Beiny. The Bay Lights are a wonderful art-meets-technology showpiece. If you haven’t visited San Francisco since it’s installation, I highly recommend a trip to the city. If you are too far or cannot visit, then hopefully this video will give you a decent idea of it’s scale. You can also find out more about The Bay Lights and the artist behind them – Leo Villareal – at the following link:
Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Be sure to view it in Full HD – 1080p for the most detail.
What I enjoy most about photography is that I never really know what beauty awaits, but I do know when it arrives, I’ll be there to take it all in.
My day was done early and I had been having a little bit of an itch to capture the sunset with a time lapse. I also hadn’t taken my 7D out since I got the 5D Mark III. So I decided to head down to Old Sacramento to explore a nice vantage point to take in the view, lights and changing colors of the sunset. This was the main reason why I bought a second body, so I can pull double duty on my photo outings. During the last few years I’ve found myself having to make several trips to the same location just to capture my stills and time lapses. Add to that unpredictable weather and it becomes quite expensive to get the shot I want.
I set the 7D up for the time lapse and let it run, while I took my time soaking up the view and trying various takes on the scene with the 5D Mark III.
Here is a shot from the 5D Mark-III. I used the in-camera HDR which works quite well actually.
Here is the composed time lapse from the 7D. I probably should have let it go 20-30 minutes longer to soak-in the night lights, but not bad for a random evening. You can view full screen and full HD at 1080p for full detail and effect. Enjoy.