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Pointers by Paul's Photo

The Longest Lunar Eclipse in 580 Years

The Longest Lunar Eclipse in 580 Years Takes Place TONIGHT!

Go out and get a great picture!

On Friday morning, November 19, the full Beaver Moon ECLIPSE will happen with 97% of the Lunar Disc occluded. The Eclipse will be the longest in 580 years lasting nearly 3 and a half hours! The Earth’s shadow will begin darkening the moon ~ 11:18pm Thursday night. The Eclipse will conclude ~2:47am Friday morning on the west coast (2:18am to 5:47am East Coast time). The Beaver Moon Eclipse will peak at 1:02 am, NASA reports, and will be visible across North America.

Diagram courtesy of AccuWeather

The Lunar Eclipse is safe to view and photograph with the naked eye (unlike a solar eclipse). For a good view of the Eclipse find a south facing clear sky. The moon will be ~60 degrees above the horizon and very bright in the sky. Let’s hope to fog and clouds hang back tonight!

Photo courtesy of India Today

To photograph the disc of the moon you will need a long telephoto lens (400, 500, 600 or 800mm) and a sturdy tripod is suggested.  The full moon exposure is a little challenging to capture….

Start with your camera in MANUAL exposure mode, SUNNY White Balance, ISO 400, Shutter Speed 1/500 with F-Stop 8. Check your histogram and fine tune the exposure as needed.

As the moon is eclipsed the shadow of the earth will darken the moon BUT the illuminated portion will remain the same exposure. You will have to choose to expose for the bright portion of the moon or move to the dark side!  The exposure on the eclipsed part of the moon (dark side) will be approximately ISO 3200 to 6400 shutter speed 1/500 at f-stop f 5/6.

Photo courtesy of NY Times

Why do you need to “shoot the moon” with manual exposure?  The moon is so bright compared to the dark sky auto exposure is problematic.  

Photo courtesy of Microsoft Stock Photos

What’s the best composition of the moon?  If you want just the moon’s face go ahead and center the moon in the image. You may choose to composite the lunar images to show the entire progression of the eclipse or add a foreground element as you see in the examples.  

Photo courtesy of Microsoft Stock Photos

What’s most important? Grab a hot adult beverage, your favorite person and your camera and have some fun. Post your photos with #paulsphoto #creativephotoacademy so we can all see them.

Photo courtesy of Microsoft Stock Photos