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Lunar Eclipse Gallery

by George Murphy on December 10, 2011

This morning’s total lunar eclipse favored those of us on the west coast with a nice view, so I thought I’d share a few of the shots I made in those chilly pre-dawn hours that the eclipse was visible for us here in California. Very grateful for a nice down jacket to ward off the sub-freezing temperature, but somehow failed to grab those warm gloves that would have made handling a cold metal tripod less painful!! Still, it was worth it to catch a glimpse of a beautiful celestial event like this.

At 5:51 am, the moon is partially eclipsed, despite blowing out in this long exposure of my view to the north-west horizon from a rural road on the outskirts of Petaluma, CA. The full moon nearing maximum shadow coverage at 6:20 am PST. This shot combines four separate exposures to reduce the image noise I had from shooting at a high ISO of 1600. Even though I was shooting on a tripod, I needed the extra speed to reduce the motion blur from the Moon’s rapid drift across my locked-off frame–actually the Earth’s rotation. The approaching dawn begins to give form to the foggy Sonoma countryside as the still fully eclipsed moon drops lower in the sky. The small community of Penngrove begins to light up, as homes and businesses start to rouse for the day.. It was a rare chance to see the beauty of a red moon against the bluing, pre-dawn sky.

Tech Notes:
I shot with a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III camera, using two different lenses: A Canon EF 24-70mm ƒ2.8L lens for a wide sequence of the moon and clouds; and a Canon 70-200mm ƒ2.8L IS USM lens which also had a Canon 2x extender attached for the moon close-up. I was bracketing most shots +(-) 2.7 stops so that I could have some choices to play with later, for opening up shadows in the landscape part of the frames.


2 responses to “Lunar Eclipse Gallery”

  1. Jan Grokett says:

    Just beautiful, George. Thanks for sharing. Check out my photos from NZ on my FB wall. Russ has some beauties as well. What a fantastic 18 days we had. We did a LOTR tour of the North Isalnd and another LOTR tour around Queenstown. We saw a outdoor set being r constructed for , “The Hobbit.” Beorn’s house in the Paradise area around Glenorchy. Hope you all have a great holiday.

    Love, Jan & Russ

  2. Richard Klein says:

    Hey George,

    Dude, much water has passed under the bridge since your departure from NZ. Rather than try to recount it now, with little time and too much to do, let’s rejoice in the fact of being connected once again and look forward to telling our mutual tales over a bottle or two sometime in 2012. I’ll definitely be coming to SF at some point.

    Meantime, all the very best to you and yours!


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