Total Eclipse of the Moon

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Full Lunar Eclipse

Exciting times ahead for fans of moon photography: in addition to a ‘super moon’ in August, 2014 sees the start of a sequence of four total lunar eclipses, a so-called ‘lunar eclipse tetrad’.

The first in the series occurs in just over two weeks from now, on the night of April 14/15, and is timed perfectly for photographers in the Americas.

Apr 15 2014 Lunar Eclipse Details

Here in Boulder, Colorado, total eclipse will begin at 1:06am early on the morning of Tuesday April 15 (Mountain Time zone is 6 hours earlier than Universal Time). By then, the moon will be high in the sky to the south, as you can see from the screenshot below:

TPE Details for April 15 2014

Given the moon’s altitude above the horizon, it may be tricky to photograph it in the context of landmarks, although, if you position yourself close to tall building or mountain, it may be possible to juxtapose the two. Possibly the best approach will be to take a time lapse series of exposures to capture the entire event, with the moon transitioning into partial eclipse, then full eclipse (that’s when the striking red colours emerge), and then back to normal full moon.

The photograph at the top of this page shows the sort of effect that is possible.

There are a good number tutorials out there on the internet with details of the technical aspects of photographing a lunar eclipse. Here’s a short list to consult:

I’ve never managed to photograph a total lunar eclipse before myself, but I’m looking forward to trying to capture this one.

And if it doesn’t work out due to weather, technique or timing, then there’s always October 8 2014 to look forward to (although European/African readers will likely need to wait until September 28 2015 – the preceding lunar eclipses aren’t well timed for that part of the world).

Good eclipse hunting!