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Lunar Eclipse 2018 In Northern Germany

I heard all the chatter about the lunar eclipse today but the strong summer heat made me a bit too lazy to research when exactly it’s going to happen here at our place. I actually forgot about it and went outside around 10pm because I wanted to run a few laps at a local sports field near my apartment. It was still super hot and I basically melted. Arrived at home I waited until the sweating would stop, because it makes no sense to take a shower when it’s still dripping out of every pore of your skin. But then it stopped and I took a nice cold shower. I did put my pants on, and in that very moment my mother called me by phone that I should come outside immediately, the lunar eclipse is clearly visible and there are hundreds of people from our district outside.

I actually wanted to record a guitar video after the shower, but the lunar eclipse definitely sounded more interesting. I jumped into my shoes, I took a random shirt, and I attached my Tamron 70-300mm to my camera and put it into my bag but forgot my tripod. I was pretty unprepared so what could go wrong? I went outside with wet hairs and met my mother, my two cousins, one with her boyfriend. I noticed all the people of the district, many without camera, quite a lot with smaller point-and-shoot cameras, and others who seemed to try their luck with their phone camera. After a short conversation with my relatives, the Moon did now get my full attention. The first shots were miserable, I was using manual mode and made test shots to get it right.

As said, I shot the photos handheld and found out that I can do it at 1/15 seconds at f/5.6. It’s not the first time I noticed that I have calm hands. But a railing in front of me helped a lot to stabilize my camera, because I use this technique often. I have chosen ISO 2000 and I didn’t want to go much higher because I knew I would need to crop the images heavily because 300mm is still not enough. At the same time I knew how hopeless it would be with a phone camera but my mother and everyone else tried it anyway. Meanwhile I also took a photo of the Mars because it’s visible like a bright red star near the Moon at the moment because the Mars is currently much closer than usual. After that my mother showed me her Moon photo on the phone and we laughed, because my Mars photo looked to be as close (laugh). But I took the Mars photos out of fun, without much expectations. So, I paid much more attention to the Moon of course.

I took many shots, because every few minutes the appearance of the Moon changed. I was glad that I did jumpstart out of the apartment after the shower, and that my mother called me. Because I went outside at the right time, the Moon was extremely red, it actually looked more like the Mars. So, I took as much images as I could because I hoped to get a good one that does not look too messed up after cropping. But then some kind of a half halo appears on the left of the moon, it started to get illumination again. The next phase was that the left half started to appear grey again, while the right side was still red, until the moon was finally grey again. I tried to take photos of the whole event, because the whole phase looked beautiful. I was also glad that we had enough time to enjoy this spectacle, so much time that I didn’t just look through my camera. I wanted to enjoy it with my eyes too, and of course we all talked about how beautiful it is.

I don’t want to torture you much further with words, I want to show you the pictures. I maybe just want to add that you also can’t expect wonders at 300mm. Many of my images are heavily cropped. Next issue was the heavy image noise due to the darkness and high ISO settings, but in the evening and especially handheld, you need to find a compromise and that is increasing ISO. This however means that you need to move the noise reduction slider to max insanity in your photo editing software. The disadvantage is of course that many details get lost, but I find that better than heavy image noise. Especially with lunar eclipse photos, because it’s all about colours, highlights and shadows. I hope you like the images anyway…

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3 Comments »

  1. That is a great photo collage. I did not know there was a lunar eclipse recently. Perhaps it was not visible from where I live or maybe it is because I don’t watch the news anymore.

    • It was an one hour long lunar eclipse, a really nice spectacle. It was also a blood moon, I’ve heard that’s how it is called when the moon turns red. I think it was only visible in Europe and of course at our time zone. It was visible here from around 23:00h to 24:00h. I was surprised how many people were interested to watch the eclipse. It was fascinating and I am glad that my mother reminded me to go outside, I almost missed the event.

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