The Story Behind the Shot: “Tremendous Blood Wolf Moon” Eclipse of 2019

April 4, 2019 - Comment

Reader Michael Rossacci shares the story behind his seize of the January 20, 2019, whole lunar eclipse. The entire lunar eclipse of January 20, 2019.Michael Rossacci When in New England, you’ll typically hear, “In case you don’t just like the climate, simply wait 5 minutes!” By no means did that line show so true as


Reader Michael Rossacci shares the story behind his seize of the January 20, 2019, whole lunar eclipse.

Total lunar eclipse

The entire lunar eclipse of January 20, 2019.
Michael Rossacci

When in New England, you’ll typically hear, “In case you don’t just like the climate, simply wait 5 minutes!” By no means did that line show so true as on January 20th. Through the day, snow and a deep freeze blanketed the Boston space, because of a dipping polar vortex. For a lot of weeks, I had had excessive hopes of photographing this distinctive occasion in its entirety. Nevertheless, as Previous Man Winter dug deeply into the area, I had principally misplaced hope. Each time I checked, the hourly forecast predicted that skies would clear beginning at 2 a.m. — after the entire spectacle had already taken place.

As luck would have it, round 9 p.m. that night, I observed a vibrant ambient mild exterior. I assumed an animal was triggering our motion-sensor mild. However after I peered exterior, I discovered that my highlight was off — as a substitute, a superbly vibrant full Moon was lighting up my again deck. Like a madman, I ran to my closet and grabbed my digicam gear and began assembling it. Now the one impediment that remained was coping with single digit temperatures (minus the wind chill issue) that will accompany me for the subsequent a number of hours. However I definitely wasn’t about to complain — thank goodness for changeable climate!

I had gone out a number of nights earlier than to determine what elevation angle I would want throughout every stage of the eclipse. My arsenal of digicam gear included a Canon EOS 7D with a 300-mm f/2.eight lens and 1.4x tele-extender on a tripod, which occurs to be my nature images rig. My help gear consisted of a Actually Proper Stuff TVC-33 tripod along with a BH-55 ballhead. The unsung hero, so far as gear goes, was the cable launch, which might journey the shutter with out including any vibration — a key requirement throughout totality.

Whereas the elevation angle for the final lunar eclipse in 2015 solely surpassed 45°, this one would stress the gear’s limits. The primary alignment problem was to realize the required 67° elevation angle at totality whereas protecting my rig regular. Though my ballhead solely permits for a most elevation of 45°, it’s outfitted with a drop-down notch for vertical compositions. After maneuvering my digicam into the drop-down notch and locking down my ballhead, my panning knob turned my elevation knob and allowed me to comfortably obtain the elevation angle I wanted. For azimuth placement, I rotated my tripod legs in order that my lens barrel roughly lined up with the moon.

And so it started, a collection of the next steps: (1) head exterior with my gear, (2) plant my tripod legs firmly on my snowy deck, (three) set the elevation angle, (four) set focus, (5) get a base publicity, (6) test histogram, (6) take a number of photographs ready for the opportunistic lulls within the wind and eventually, (7) head again in to heat up. Through the 2015 eclipse, I solely shot from horizon-break to totality. I regretted lacking the second half of the eclipse, so this time I used to be decided to seize the occasion’s total symmetry.

The composite picture above summarizes my view of the occasion because it progressed via the penumbral, partial, and whole eclipse phases. To provide this picture, I processed particular person photos in Adobe Lightroom earlier than assembling them right into a single composite in Photoshop. My base publicity began at f/eight, 1/200 sec, ISO 100, and I adjusted accordingly because the Moon dimmed; totality which was essentially the most difficult publicity.

I have to say, it was effectively well worth the effort to this occasion. With the climate handing over my favor, I used to be in a position to acquire a number of photos throughout every section of the eclipse to fill within the symmetry I used to be in the end searching for. As I made my means via the penumbral and partial eclipse phases, my adrenaline actually began pumping and I discovered myself in tune with the evening sky. On the identical time, I additionally began feeling increasingly stress to not mess up any digicam settings or focus. All through the evening, the largest challenges had been coping with the climate and pointing with a steep elevation angle. Having good working information of my help gear actually paid dividends in making the shoot profitable.

Shortly after 2 a.m. I packed it in for the evening, backed up my valuable photos, and stowed my gear. As I lastly crawled into mattress, trying ahead to all of the cool picture modifying I’d be doing later that morning, I couldn’t cease enthusiastic about that oft-said New England quote.



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