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About Grazza

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  1. Some photos of this morning's lunar eclipse:

    About 50 minutes before totality.

    Start of totality (c. 5.25 am).

    "Blood moon".

    Totality has ended.

    Partial eclipse continued through moonset/sunrise.

    All photos taken with my Nikon, and hand-held (tripods are for wusses).

    1. Show previous comments  6 more
    2. Grazza


      I now realize that the little white smudge near the left-hand edge of the third picture (about half way up) is probably Uranus. If I had realized that beforehand, I probably would have set up the tripod and given it a longer exposure. Oh well.

      I also missed the cool shot when an aeroplane flew right in the front of the eclipsed moon.

    3. geekmarine


      I tried to catch some eclipse photos myself, but I only had a smart phone and was unsure of what settings would produce the best pictures. Not that the settings would have mattered, I'm sure, but I'm curious about what settings you used. I mean yeah, a phone is not a professional camera, but my phone does have a pretty decent camera with the proper settings, so it'd be interesting to know regardless of whether or not it could help.

    4. Grazza


      Yeah, you need a camera with a decent lens and which gives you a large degree of control over the settings. A smartphone isn't going to cut it, nor is a typical small compact camera. Mine's this kind of thing; it's pretty good, the main drawback being the small aperture range (a standard limitation of big-zoom non-SLRs).

      Because the brightness varies a lot depending on which phase of the eclipse the moon is in, you need to adjust the settings continually. If you're serious about it, you'd plan ahead and have a few manual presets. I'd certainly do that for a total solar eclipse. The main thing is to know your camera well enough so that you know what to adjust to achieve the effect you want quickly enough so that you get shot before the chance has gone.

      Focus: set manually to near infinity (autofocus tends to work well enough for a regular full moon, but not when it's so much darker).
      Zoom: maximum (in the case of this camera, that's 42x), except for long shots
      ISO: 400 during totality, 80-200 during partial phase depending on how much of the darker areas I was trying to get.
      Aperture: largest available (i.e. smallest f number), except in long shots where I wanted some foreground. Smaller aperture (larger f number) during partial phase to avoid overexposure; the normal full moon is bright).
      Shutter speed: during totality, about half a second; with a tripod I would have tried a few seconds; during partial phase, anything from 1/100 second to 1/1000 second; when taking full moon shots I'd often try 1/1600 second and work down from there if it's too dark.
      White balance: I adjusted this during totality, since AWB was making it whiter than it looked to the eye.

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