Lunar Eclipse Dec 20/21

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by MartinCrabtree, Dec 19, 2010.

  1. MartinCrabtree

    MartinCrabtree Member

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    Hey. Like it says there's a Total Lunar Eclipse tomorrow night visible from most of the western hemisphere. It will be high in the sky and it appears the weather will cooperate. I lost my job Friday so may as well make the best of it. The AE-1 is loaded with T-Max 100. Not one exposure has been shot so pushing isn't a problem. I could use some help with times and speed rating. I have a tripod and will be using a 50MM 1.8 w/o filter. After that roll I have some Ilford SFX200 I may play with as well.
    Thanks.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2010
  2. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    A 50mm lens is a very short focal length for photographing the moon and will give a very tiny image. Also, during a total lunar eclipse the moon itself becomes very dark (usually a dull copper color), as all the sunlight falling on it is obscured by the earth's shadow. (It's much less spectacular than a solar eclipse). This means a short time exposure is needed, and the movement of the moon in the sky during even a few seconds will blur the image.

    I've photographed a lunar eclipse, but using a telescope on a guided mount (and, dare a say it, a d****** camera, so that I could see the results immediately and correct for exposure, framing, etc.

    Not trying to discourage you from having a go, but, given the limitations of an ordinary camera, slow film and a standard lens, I'd probably just enjoy it as a spectacle to watch, particularly if you have a pair of binoculars available.

    There's loads of technical info on the eclipse itself on

    http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/OH/OH2010.html#LE2010Dec21T
     
  3. MartinCrabtree

    MartinCrabtree Member

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    I have more lens if necessary. I wanted to avoid very long exposure times.
     
  4. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Martin

    railwayman is right. 500mm and up is more like it. Do you have access to a telescope?
     
  5. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Gotta agree with you there! :thumbsup:

    So many people think that they need all sorts of fancy equipment to view the moon and the stars.

    While a telescope or a fancy camera are fine things to have if you enjoy those kinds of things, there is nothing better to view the night sky than a pair of binoculars with mid-range magnification. Let's say 10X.

    That 7 x 35 binocular in the back of your closet will do a fine job!

    The problem with fancy gizmos is that the greater the magnification, the lesser the field of view. The lesser the field of view, the harder it is to target an object and hold steady on it while you're trying to study it. You'll end up looking at a jittery blob of light instead of a sharply focused image of the moon.

    Regardless of the device you choose to view the stars with, be that a camera, a telescope, a combination telescope/camera, a pair of binoculars or just your eyes, people need to think of things in terms of LIGHT GATHERING instead of magnification.

    The truth is that there is an optimum balance of light gathering and magnification that applies to any given stargazing situation. For most people who are not astronomers or astrophotographers or just plain astro-hobbyists, a pair of binoculars is the best thing to use.
     
  6. MartinCrabtree

    MartinCrabtree Member

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    Somehow I knew answers to a question would be difficult. :errm: Sorry to have bothered anyone.
     
  7. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Martin

    What are you talking about? It's all in railwayman's link! Great resource, by the way. Thanks railwayman.
     
  8. Hikari

    Hikari Member

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    Well, if you apply a little creativity and planning, you can make some interesting photographs. I have seen a lunar eclipse image of the duration of the events with a wide-angle lens. It looked like aspace dog bone. Each end was thick and bright where the moon exited the shadow and the area between gradually became narrower and redder as the moon passed through the shadow. Naturally, some planning. But why not go and have some fun--there is no evidence that you need to make a good photo every time you shoot.
     
  9. Josh Harmon

    Josh Harmon Member

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    Wow, I did not know there would be eclipse this week. Unfortunately there is a storm for the rest of the week where I am at... And to think I have one of those cheap 420-800mm T-mount lenses I could put to good use...
     
  10. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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  11. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Can you do multiple exposures? Not fam w/ the AE1 but I have seen photographs with the moon exposed in different phases along it line of travel in a single photograph. Just an idea.
     
  12. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Moon isn't as dark as you think. With modest aperture and ISO 100, you'll get decent shutter speeds. (I can't recall what I used, but I think it was something like 1/125 seconds or so) If you can use 300mm lens or so, you can crop and get usable image with some detail. With 50mm, it will be a small blob. I'm sorry about loss of your job.
     
  13. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    Yes, the AE-1 can do multiple exposures but not easily. You have to rewind the film and wind again since there is no way to cock the shutter without winding and there is no dedicated multiple exposure feature. You need to rewind and look at the little dot on the rewind button to get the spacing right. Not easy to do but it is what he has so you have to work with what you've got.

    You could 'black hat' it though, put it on a tripod and cover the lens with a 'hat' and take it off for seconds at a time during totality, replacing the 'hat' each time. At the darkest point of totality it may take 30s for the exposure which will be blurred but that's what you get unless you have a driven mount.
     
  14. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Thanks for the heads up. I am ill-equipped for such work, but may try anyway. I have a 70-210 for my FD gear, that's better than nothing. I too remember from long ago that exposures for the full moon are a lot faster than one might expect. I might put the bit-zapper on a second tripod to try and get some idea of exposures as it goes into dark mode. I have a roll of 35mm Provia 100F that's dated May 09, might as well try something with it!

    That said, they are predicting a low of 22ºF (-5 or so ºC) tonight. The glass half empty part of me says "why do these things happen in the winter?" The glass half full part says the air will probably be very clear. Right now there's high wispy clouds, but the weather guessers are still calling for "clear" overnight. We shall see.
     
  15. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    The meter on the AE-1 could work with the 210mm if you keep the Moon centered with the center weighted average metering pattern.

    You need a long lens for good shots however as the moon is just half a degree across. A 2000mm lens (a telescope) with a driven equatorial mount is best. If set to Moon rate it will keep the Moon centered. If I'm up (it is very late/early here) I may get my 1800mm f/8 telescope out on its mount for a try though the weather looks pretty iffy.

    Edit: I should say for good tight shots you need a telescope. You can get good shots including the horizon, foreground objects, moon tracks with multiple or single long exposures using shorter lenses.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2010
  16. Markster

    Markster Member

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    I had never thought of the hat trick (new use for that term!) and that is quite brilliant.

    One other technique I was told about long long ago by a film class instructor (when discussing my AE-1 Program I used in-class) was as follows: You can take up all the tension on the rewind spool, hit the "film rewind" button underneath, then advance the film lever. Thus keeping the film in place and recocking the shutter.

    I've never had the guts/imagination to try it (my subjects are far more ordinary), but I would be careful how much tension you put on the rewind lever. Too much, and it might "spring back" a bit when you pop the rewind button.

    He was a pretty smart instructor. He knew some tips and tricks that I've never tried myself, and it was clear he loved film.