Backyard View of Lunar Eclipse

On Monday night I was busy catching up on office work when I walked past one of the windows at my house and wondered what the bright light out side was. It ended up being the full moon! This was so shocking as we were supposed to have rain storms all day and I had given up on any chance of photographing the lunar eclipse. And here, an hour before the start of the eclipse, the clouds had parted and I had clear skies. The photo below is the sequence of photos that I was able to create on short notice.

Lunar Eclipse Sequence, from 11:47 pm on 12/20/2010 to 1:32am on 12/21/2010

Lunar Eclipse Sequence, from 11:47 pm on 12/20/2010 to 12:30am on 12/21/2010

The biggest challenge with Monday night’s lunar eclipse was that the moon was essentially directly overhead when the eclipse occurred. Following the inspiration of Michael Frye, my original idea was to place some foreground element in the frame to add a bit more interest. However, the height of the moon and the fact that I wanted a larger sized moon (zoomed in) in my photo led me with few options (especially on such short notice). Luckily, I happen to have a set of redwood trees in my backyard and I was able to position myself so that the tops of the trees framed out the photo for the anticipated path of the moon.

I originally set my photo interval at every 5 minutes. In the end, I choose every other photo from the above sequence (10 minutes apart) to provide better spacing. Toward the end of the sequence I realized that the moon was going to move out of frame before full totality, hence the shorter interval near the top of the photo. I ended up moving the camera after the above sequence to capture full totality and then coming back to photograph the trees (faintly light painted by the glow from my backyard holiday lights…). This is what allowed me to place the first moon in the sequence behind the tree.

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