Lunar Eclipse

December 10, 2011

I called Bill at 4:30pm on Friday and said, "I'm coming to pick you up in 11 hours to photograph the eclipse."

He said, "OK". Then he paused and said, "Wait. what??"

The next morning I drove up to Bill's at 0345 (OK, I was 15 minutes late; sue me). Bill and Mack were waiting in the front yard with lawn chairs and thermos of coffee. They piled into the truck and we drove up to Mount Soledad to get a good view of the western sky.

We got to Mount Soleded about 0430, right on time to get set up for the eclipse starting at 0445. The equipment & supplies used for this photo series were:

The exposures range from 1/250 of a second to 5 seconds. Unfortunately the earth/moon actually move perceptibly in 5 seconds, so they aren't as sharp as they could be. By 2014 my goal will be to upgrade the camera to a 5d Mark II (or similar) that has better low-light sensitivity so I can stay with a faster shutter.

At first, we had the place to ourselves except for a couple of teenagers who clearly were still out from the night before. As the eclipse went on, more people showed up. They were still showing up as the eclipse was ending. We couldn't figure that out.

Another puzzle was the guy who backed into his parking spot and left his headlights on, pointing towards everyone else gathering to watch the night sky. Bill eventually went over and "sorted him out".

Equally confusing were the 20-somethings who came over to ask what they were looking at; so of course I gave a little impromtu seminar. They really baffled me though. I would have thought that anyone who was up that early would understand what they were getting up to see. I don't have a good explanation for that, but I am glad they experienced something wonderful.

Total lunar eclipse time series