Reader Michael Rossacci shares the story behind his seize of the January 20, 2019, whole lunar eclipse.
When in New England, you’ll typically hear, “For those who 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, due to a dipping polar vortex. For a lot of weeks, I had had excessive hopes of photographing this distinctive occasion in its entirety. Nevertheless, as Outdated Man Winter dug deeply into the area, I had principally misplaced hope.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 brilliant ambient gentle outdoors. I assumed an animal was triggering our motion-sensor gentle. However after I peered outdoors, I discovered that my highlight was off — as an alternative, a fantastically brilliant full Moon was lighting up my again deck. Like a madman, I ran to my closet and grabbed my digital camera gear and began assembling it. Now the one impediment that remained was coping with single digit temperatures (minus the wind chill issue) that might accompany me for the subsequent a number of hours. However I actually wasn’t about to complain — thank goodness for changeable climate!
I had gone out just a few nights earlier than to determine what elevation angle I would want throughout every stage of the eclipse. My arsenal of digital camera 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 pictures rig. My assist 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 may 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 principle alignment problem was to realize the required 67° elevation angle at totality whereas holding my rig regular. Though my ballhead solely permits for a most elevation of 45°, it’s geared up with a drop-down notch for vertical compositions. After maneuvering my digital camera into the drop-down notch and locking down my ballhead, my panning knob grew to become 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 outdoors 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) verify 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 by the penumbral, partial, and whole eclipse phases. To provide this picture, I processed particular person photographs 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 probably the most difficult publicity.
I have to say, it was effectively definitely worth the effort to this occasion. With the climate delivering my favor, I used to be in a position to accumulate a number of photographs throughout every section of the eclipse to fill within the symmetry I used to be finally searching for. As I made my means by the penumbral and partial eclipse phases, my adrenaline actually began pumping and I discovered myself in tune with the night time sky. On the similar time, I additionally began feeling increasingly more stress to not mess up any digital camera settings or focus. All through the night time, the most important challenges had been coping with the climate and pointing with a steep elevation angle. Having good working data of my assist gear actually paid dividends in making the shoot profitable.
Shortly after 2 a.m. I packed it in for the night time, backed up my treasured photographs, and stowed my gear. As I lastly crawled into mattress, wanting ahead to all of the cool picture modifying I’d be doing later that morning, I couldn’t cease serious about that oft-said New England quote.