Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How to shoot a lunar eclipse

  1. Dig out old 70-300 mm lens, which on your DSLR becomes a 105-450 mm lens. Sweet.
  2. Dust off the tripod.
  3. Attach lens to camera and camera to tripod. Place by door.
  4. Find warmest coat, gloves and red fleece hat with cute pompom on top (one must look cute when shooting an eclipse). Bundle up like you're the abominable snowman.
  5. Beat tripod against every part of the door frame trying to get out of the house with abominable snowman suit on.
  6. Trip motion detector light on way out. Curse light pollution.
  7. Set up tripod in driveway. Contemplate throwing rocks at big street lights that cause even more light pollution.
  8. Frame shot in viewfinder. Zoom in. Zoom out. Zoom in again. Adjust framing. Try to figure out how many stars you can get in the frame with the moon at it's largest. Answer: one. Damn.
  9. Try in vain to operate camera with gloves that, while warm, effectively turn your hands into Muppet hands, which are not so great when it comes to pushing small buttons and turning small dials on a DSLR. In the cold. At night. Curse again and remove one glove.
  10. Fire off a few test shots. Realize after chimping on your LCD you have no freakin' idea how to effectively shoot a lunar eclipse.
  11. Leave camera and tripod set up in driveway and come in to warm up. Remove gloves but leave rest of abominable snowman outfit on to sit at computer and search "lunar eclipse photography" on
  12. Read. Read some more. Click links. Find a chart. Estimate your best chance given your focal length and the brightness of the moon is to go with around a 2 sec. shutter speed.
  13. Go back out in the driveway and fire off some more shots.
  14. Invite tired, sick husband to come out, and oh by the way, bring the telescope and binoculars out, too.
  15. Watch for a few minutes. Contemplate one's tiny speck of insignificance in the grand scheme of the universe. Decide you're freezing your insignificant ass off and go back inside. With husband, tripod, camera, telescope and binoculars.

I'll be happy to post what I got here, if they aren't too bad once I get them in the Mac and take a good look-see. Can't do it tonight, though. Camera has to warm back up and I'm going to bed before it does. Tomorrow is my first day back to my 5:15 wake-up call to go exercise (yes, I'm going to call "power walking" exercise, at least until I can do more) and I need to get to bed at a decent hour.

Happy lunar eclipse!


Post a Comment

<< Home