Day 271 – Lunar Eclipse – Chasing the Dark

Sunday night, the early hours of Monday morning – a lunar eclipse or super blood moon should take place. I tired to capture a Solar Eclipse earlier in the year, so this afternoon I have researched what I need to know to capture a lunar eclipse … if I remember to get up…

Essential Kit:

  • Tripod
  • Zoom Lens
  • Shutter release cable – to prevent vibrations
  • Flask of coffee and some warm clothes.
  • A dark location, clear skies with a interesting view

My research online included a number of articles:

Timings for the eclipse
Timings for the eclipse

I started taking photos where the Moon entered Penumbra at 1.15am and set my camera up to take a photo every two minutes and then merged them in Star Stax.


I was amazed how far the moon moved in two minutes – but it did not move enough … my moon’s overlapped. and in 15 photos – 30 minutes the moon had traveled completely across my frame. I amended the settings to 3 minute intervals and took a test shot.


The eclipse had started 2.15am onwards – the eclipse has started and I have something to share….

3 minute intervals
3 minute intervals

As the eclispe started to happen the sky got dramatically darker – I had to increase the ISO, widen the aperture, lengthen the shutter speed – just to get the shot … and the 3 minute gaps were too far apart… I switched to 20 secs …

ISO6400, F7.1, 1/4 sec - I exposure every 20 secs
ISO6400, F7.1, 1/4 sec – I exposure every 20 secs

I struggled to capture the orange glow – viewable by eye but not my camera … and then I did it – it is a bit noisy and fully zoomed it on my Sigma 150-500mm lens – but I am pleased with it!

During the eclipse
During the eclipse

It is amazing how quickly the moon moves across the sky – these were taken about 1min 20 secs apart during the full eclipse, over Lymington in the New Forest.

ISO6400, F7.1, 1/4 sec - Full eclispe over Lymington
ISO6400, F7.1, 1/4 sec – Full eclipse over Lymington

I zoomed out so I could capture the eclipse moving across the sky – with ISO6400 – it is grainy… but my F stop was as wide as it could get and my shutter speed as slow as I could risk it. It is amazing how far the moon moves in just 28 minutes. I am delighted with the timing between exposures – as each photo is separate from the one before – I then stacked the images in my editing software.

ISO6400, F7.1, 1/4 sec - every 2 mins 20 secs during the eclipse
ISO6400, F7.1, 1/4 sec – every 2 mins 20 secs during the eclipse

As the moon begins to leave the Umbra – my battery ran out …  and the moon had moved out of frame – so a quick change and to re-position the camera…  I am now not sure how long I will be able to track it for, and it is starting to get brighter. I already made the decision to reduce the ISO, but this time I wanted to capture the orange glow – would would mean blowing out the highlights. I photo every 2 minutes 20 secs and wow…  this is what I wanted to achieve.

ISO2000, F7.1, 1/4 sec - the eclispe begins to end.
ISO2000, F7.1, 1/4 sec – the eclispe begins to end.

My final combination… these are all edited jpg’s – I had to pause the camera and move it a couple of times and adjust the settings –  but this is the iconic shots I have always wanted to capture of an eclipse.

Tomorrow I might look at the raw files and add my best images … but I had an amazing evening – my three teens and my hubby slept through the night and I got to take photos in my p’j’s and share them…. It has been a long night … I got up at 1.30am … and took my last image at 5.35am … if you have enjoyed my images please follow my blog, share my page, click like and I would love to hear your comments below…. and you are welcome to sponsor me too (I am raising money for research into my son’s rare medical condition.)

The eclipse ending - captures between 4.46am and 5.31am
The eclipse ending – captures between 4.46am and 5.31am


How was it done – my laptop was tethered to my computer upstairs – saving jpg’s to the hard drive – I was then sync that folder with my main computer to do the edits during the eclipse and so I could alter my settings as I went along. I have never used live tether before … and it works great. Looking at these photos I think I am ready for the next eclipse – 31st January 2018 for me!

From start to finish ... amazing!
From start to finish … amazing!

And after looking at the raw file (the above were all jpg files) – I think this image sum up why we should should raw.

Processed Raw file of the moon
Processed Raw file of the moon

19 thoughts on “Day 271 – Lunar Eclipse – Chasing the Dark

  1. Wow, these are really great Helen.

    I got some great red shots at 7.30 at sunset! But at 11 and then 1.30 the moon was just too bright, I couldn’t get my head round the settings I needed. Then I needed to go to bed thanks to work today. Maybe by the next one I need to a) get a longer zoom lens, b) do lots more research beforehand, and c) take the morning/day off work afterwards.


  2. BEAUTIFUL!!! I KNOW the work I put into what I did last night and what you did here is outstanding!! I shot about 300 frames and yes I have all the phases except for the full eclipse, which occurred about 45 minutes after I quit. My neck and upper back were screaming from looking up for hours. Your images are I MEAN IT, outstanding! The time it took you to put this post together I commend you for! By the time I was finished shooting, I was so tired and my eyes so blurry, I could barely edit the two images I showed. It was quite the show and at times I was whooping and wowing, SO excited at what I was witinessing. At times I just stood there covered in goosebumps as I watched with my naked eye what was happening. I went through so many shutter speeds my head was spinning. I just kept on “feeling it out” because with the light change, my shutter speed had to change. I shot at ISO 400, believe it or not. And yes it was a challenge to get that moon in clearly. Fantastic job you did! ❤


    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply and comment. I had over 300 frames to – but had my camera merged images to stay awake … I am lucky I had the opportunity to sleep all morning -but it was such a challenge with the changing light … I loved every moment!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Helen, These are amazing photos and the detail you put in to tell us about how you captured each frame etc is just mind blowing. I can’t wait to show this to Cameron when he gets home from school. 🙂


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