I went to the State Fair of Texas last night to shoot the supermoon lunar eclipse behind Big Tex. It was not just a supermoon, it was also a blood moon and a harvest moon, to boot, or a “lunar trifecta”, so to speak. Here are three images. Let me know if you have a favorite.
UPDATE: These images went a bit viral on Facebook, reaching over 17,000 people. Some have asked for any tips I might give, with several noting that their images turned out crappy.
TIPS FOR SHOOTING A LUNAR ECLIPSE
I am no astrophotographer, but I do know a few tricks, and have some stylistic preferences.
First off, many photographers shoot the moon (and just the moon) with a long lens (i.e. with a focal length of 600-1000mm). Others photograph the moon as multiple exposures as it moves across the sky. These images are kind of neat, and I have done them myself, but here is the problem- tons of people are doing the exact same thing, and all of these images look pretty much the same.
I like my images to be a little bit unique, and I want the image to tell more of a story. So
First, I look for a dominant subject in the image foreground. It can be a silhouette, or it can be something that has a little light on it, like Big Tex here. (Or you can add your own light to it with a flash or flashlight).
Second, I use as long a lens to “compress” the foreground subject against the moon. This makes the moon look bigger and closer to the foreground. A wide angle lens will make the moon look like a tiny speck.
In the images below, the focal length moves from 144mm to 400mm to 1200mm. You can really see the what I mean about “compressing” the foreground against the moon at these different focal lengths.
Third, keep an eye on your exposure. The moon is generally lit by direct sunlight, which is why it usually blows out in a night exposure. The eclipse casts a shadow on the moon and brings the exposure down quite a bit – in this case perfectly equal to the light on Big Tex.
I focused on Big Tex and then tried various apertures, including f/22, to see which effect I liked the most. I try to keep my shutter speed as short as possible, as the moon and earth are both moving and too long an exposure will render the moon blurry.
the middle one. I can’t believe you were able to get those long exposures without getting knocked over by the crowd!