Lunar Eclipse Dec 20/21
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.
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
I have more lens if necessary. I wanted to avoid very long exposure times.
railwayman is right. 500mm and up is more like it. Do you have access to a telescope?
Gotta agree with you there! :thumbsup:
Originally Posted by railwayman3
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.
Somehow I knew answers to a question would be difficult. :errm: Sorry to have bothered anyone.
Originally Posted by MartinCrabtree
What are you talking about? It's all in railwayman's link! Great resource, by the way. Thanks railwayman.
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.
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...
Thanks for the reminder!
Eclipses are fun. The full Moon is very bright so you will need a short exposure but once the eclipse starts the Moon gets dimmer and dimmer. You can have fun with wide angle like 50mm doing multiple exposures or very long exposures though the AE-1's battery won't last long in the cold.