Live and learn

So I was all excited about shooting the blood moon last month.  I had my shot all panned out with a nice shot of the Utah state capital building and the blood moon (total lunar eclipse) rising just to the right of the dome and over the flag.  I arrived in plenty of time to fine-tune the exact location I wanted to shoot it from and then patiently awaited for the moon to rise above the capital.  I knew it should’ve been there around 9:00 pm so as it started to get close to 9:00 I started to get nervous when I still wasn’t seeing the moon from any angle as I walked around from where I was shooting.

My first thought was that it was being blocked by clouds as I could see a few directly overhead.  I waited until close to 9:30 and decided that I had either planned it wrong or that it was blocked by clouds.  While driving home I could start to see the moon come out of the eclipse so at that point I realized that it wasn’t being blocked any clouds.  That’s when I realized that the blood moon is not visible to the naked eye, at least not very well.  I’m not sure why I thought that it should be visible to the naked eye, but that’s what I thought.  Oops!

What I needed to do is make a 2nd exposure based on the moon and then blend them together just like I did with my Super moon shot over downtown SLC.  The only difference is that for the blood moon you need to up your ISO to around 3200 to 6400 or so depending on your aperture and focal length, so that you get a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the moon.  The longer the lens you use, the faster the shutter speed has to be in order to not get any motion blur.  From what I’ve read it needs to be at least a 1/2 second or faster if you can get it.

Here’s a slightly edited photo of what I was going for and you can just barely see the moon where I’ve circled it.


Oh well.  At lest I only have to wait until Jan 2018 for the next total lunar eclipse.  I’m not sure what the difference between last month’s lunar eclipse and the one in 2018, but I read that what happened last month won’t happen again for 33 years.


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