Photographing the January 2019 Lunar Eclipse!

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Last night was a total lunar eclipse. Or as the media touted it, a super blood wolf moon eclipse. Here in Central Florida, not only did the sun, Earth, and moon align, but a few “stars” as well: the eclipse happened on a clear night before a day off from work. That clear night was a result of a cold front, which left Rich and me shivering in 40 degree weather with 15mph winds. But it was totally worth it!

Lunar Eclipse Composite
Lunar Eclipse Composite

The last time I got to photograph a lunar eclipse was in 2014. Last night I used many of the same techniques, but with a more Beastly lens. As the shadow first starts moving across the moon, it’s fairly easy to photograph. There is plenty of light and the camera’s auto-focus works easily. Closer to the totality period, the light level is much lower. Then it’s harder to focus, and higher ISOs and longer exposures are needed to capture the detail in the shadows.

Last night’s moon was directly overhead, so I used the tripod to aim the camera straight over my head. It must have looked like I was balancing the Beast on the tip of my nose!

Lunar Eclipse Composite
Lunar Eclipse Composite

The eclipse started around 10:40pm and went till about 2am. During that time, I used my phone timer to take pictures every 5 minutes as the Earth’s shadow traversed the moon. Today I edited the images into a time-lapse, which I liked a lot better than the one I did in 2010.

The next total lunar eclipse isn’t for another couple of years. Hopefully that one will be visible from Florida, and maybe on a warmer night, which would lend itself to more patience for sharp totality images.

I think I’ll sleep well tonight! :)

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