STEP BY STEP

Sky at Night Magazine - - THE SKY GUIDE -

STEP 1

Se­lect a lens or tele­scope to give you the field of view you need for the type of im­age you are af­ter. A 1m fo­cal length gives good close-up de­tail but track­ing is rec­om­mended at such a scale. A 200mm lens will show the Moon’s disc with the eclipse shadow. A wide-an­gle lens (see op­po­site) can be used to gen­er­ate a se­quence com­pos­ite.

STEP 2

If you’re us­ing just a cam­era set it to [M]an­ual fo­cus­ing, with an ISO of 200-400 and aper­ture of f/8–f/11. Pre-fo­cus us­ing the full Moon just be­fore the eclipse starts. RAW for­mat will pro­duce the best re­sults. If you’re not sure how to use RAW, cap­ture as RAW + large JPEG. This will give you some­thing to work with (JPEG) un­til you get used to RAW.

STEP 3

The fol­low­ing steps as­sume the use of a cam­era at­tached to a tele­scope. As in step 2, pre-fo­cus the scope on the Moon be­fore the eclipse. The Moon’s edge is the best tar­get for this. It’s a good strat­egy to check the fo­cus at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals through­out the event, al­though this can be hard to do dur­ing the pe­riod of to­tal­ity if the Moon is es­pe­cially dark.

STEP 4

Ex­po­sures de­pend on your setup and the dark­ness of the eclipse. To­tal­ity can range from light cop­pery-yel­low to deep brown, so dark the Moon’s disc vir­tu­ally dis­ap­pears. Pre-eclipse, ex­pose cor­rectly for the Moon’s sur­face and make a note of the set­tings. This will give you the set­tings for a cor­rectly ex­posed sur­face with a vir­tu­ally black shadow.

STEP 5

To show colour and de­tail within the um­bral shadow you’ll need more light sen­si­tiv­ity. Con­sider low­er­ing the f/num­ber, in­creas­ing the ISO to a mid-range value and in­creas­ing ex­po­sure time, in that or­der. Once you’re happy with the de­tail you’re imag­ing, make a note of the set­ting so you can re­turn to it if you later de­cide to ex­per­i­ment fur­ther.

STEP 6

Dur­ing to­tal­ity con­sider tak­ing a shot with the Moon cen­tered in frame us­ing in­creased sen­si­tiv­ity to push the eclipsed Moon to­wards over­ex­po­sure. This should re­veal back­ground stars. A nor­mal eclipse im­age and this ‘star’ shot can be com­bined us­ing a layer-mask to pro­duce a beau­ti­ful com­pos­ite show­ing the eclipsed Moon against a star field.

200mm (APS-C) 300mm (APS-C) 1,000mm (APS-C)

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