I had the opportunity to photograph another “blood moon” lunar eclipse this last week! I was excited about the fact that it was to occur during twilight near dawn and I was looking forward to capturing it near the horizon (appearing larger) and with the dark bluish tint of a twilight sky. I got up just before six am and went to my desired location. I found the moon fully eclipsed but still fairly high in the sky as I set up my equipment and waited for it to descend and the sky start to lighten. Some isolated wispy clouds then began to move in as I waited until the moon was obscured. As I waited for these to pass, they became more numerous, so when the moon popped out into a hole, I went ahead and shot as I began to worry that the clouds were gaining the upper hand. This happened two or three times until finally, as I feared, the clouds became a somewhat solid deck in the Western part of the sky and I was unable to get the shots I wanted.
Fortunately I did get a couple of the moon still partially eclipsed in the holes, though higher and smaller than I wanted and without the twilight sky. I found myself using my camera’s “High Definition” (HDF) mode combined with manual underexposure in order to capture both the darkened reddish portion without blowing out the lit portion. This shot was the best one, though I used GIMP to crop it, since the original shot was at 170mm (55-300mm kit zoom lens) to include the horizon (since my desire was to capture a shot with the moon closer to the horizon) and to slightly increase the overall brightness by slightly adjusting the input levels.
The HDF added a nice effect to the slight cloud cover and haze over and around the moon. A second shot that came out really well had a tiny (invisible to my naked eye) power line passing through it. Despite not being able to get the shot I wanted, I was very pleased with this one. The HDF feature takes three photos at slightly different exposures and combines them to increase the dynamic range.
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