Tips - Shooting the blood moon

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Steve
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#1
I had a go at this last time with poor results so any tips would be welcome.

Specifically

How to get the exposure right - manual or camera, maximum shutter speed.
ISO
Focus - manual or camera
I'll be using a Tamron 70- 300 on a Canon 60D (tripod and remote). Would you add a 1.4 Kenco Teleplus?

Anything else

Cheers
Steve
 
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#3
You need a surprisingly fast enough shutter - the moon rises and sets at a very fast rate.

I regularly photograph the moon when out doing wildlife when I get bored, hand held at 700mm and the results are still as good as a tripod.

Usually around F8, ISO800 ish and a shutter speed of between 1/500 - 1/1250
 
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Jan
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#4
Lunar eclipses aka blood moons are very much darker than a normal Moon (obviously) but can be very variable, so getting the right exposure is going to be down to experimentation. But it won't be going anywhere fast so bracketing widely is the order of the day. The one in September 2015 I shot at iso800, f5.6 and exposures of 1 and 2 seconds! I was using a 300mm lens on a Canon crop sensor as that was the longest lens I had then, shooting off a fixed tripod. Now I'd use 600mm (if it wasn't forecast to be completely cloudy where I am on Friday) though the longer the focal length the quicker you'd get the Moon's movement kicking in. My 2015 shots are time stamped at about 0300 but that's UT so 0200 BST. It just means the Moon was high in the sky, not just rising as it will be on Friday, so there was longer till movement became a factor. 2015 was a very dark eclipse. Friday's may be brighter but we won't know till it happens. I thought my camera would struggle to autofocus as the Moon was so dark so I tried a mix of auto and manual. I'm crap at judging manual focus (long sighted) so I think the autofocus worked better. I would have used my usual technique of autofocus then lock focus on the lens.
 
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Steve
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#5
Would love a 600mm but it's a bit hard to justify for a few moon shots.

So the plan is to have a practice tomorrow with a start point of:

Lens at about 280mm no extender.
Spot metering
Manual exposure 1/250 f8 auto ISO
1 stop exposure bracketing
Tripod / remote shutter / drive 2 second delay
Try autofocus on centre point (my eyes are poor too) then switch to manual on lens. I'm set up for BBF anyway..

Anything else.

What do you want to bet it's cloudy Friday?

Cheers
Steve
 
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StewartR

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#7
So the plan is to have a practice tomorrow with a start point of:

Lens at about 280mm no extender.
Spot metering
Manual exposure 1/250 f8 auto ISO
1 stop exposure bracketing
Tripod / remote shutter / drive 2 second delay
Try autofocus on centre point (my eyes are poor too) then switch to manual on lens. I'm set up for BBF anyway..

Anything else.
That exposure will be OK for a (nearly) full moon but will be way out for an eclipsed moon. See the post from @Jannyfox above and also these references:
"What will 2018's and 2019's lunac eclipses look like?" - http://www.eclipsewise.com/lunar/LEnews/LEmore/TLE2018keen.html
"How to photograph a lunar eclipse" - http://www.mreclipse.com/LEphoto/LEphoto.html

There is an amazing single-photo multiple exposure timelapse of an eclipse (shot on film!!!!!), about half way down the page of that second resource. The caption says "The basic exposure of 1/125 second at f/5.6 was increased to 1/8 second within 15 minutes of totality and then set to 4 seconds throughout totality." That illustrates the issue nicely.

Tripod, remote and manual focus won't be needed during practice but will during eclipse.
 
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GTG

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#8
Would love a 600mm but it's a bit hard to justify for a few moon shots.

So the plan is to have a practice tomorrow with a start point of:

Lens at about 280mm no extender.
Spot metering
Manual exposure 1/250 f8 auto ISO
1 stop exposure bracketing
Tripod / remote shutter / drive 2 second delay
Try autofocus on centre point (my eyes are poor too) then switch to manual on lens. I'm set up for BBF anyway..

Anything else.

What do you want to bet it's cloudy Friday?

Cheers
Steve
I would try ISO 100, f8 and whatever shutter speed is needed to get the cleanest image with least noise.

I do not believe the moon rises and sets so fast that you need a fast shutter speed and auto ISO.
 

StewartR

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#9
I do not believe the moon rises and sets so fast that you need a fast shutter speed and auto ISO.
You normally don't need to worry about the speed of the moon's motion in the sky.

Earlier this year, this cropped up in the Sigma 150-600mm thread. The author had used a shutter speed of 1/320th, at 600mm focal length on a 24 megapixel DX camera. It worked out that the moon would have moved by 0.04 pixels whilst his shutter was open.

Ordinarily it's easy to obtain a fast shutter speed, even at night, because the moon is in full sunlight - but during the eclipse you might need to make some trade-offs. If you have a 24 mp crop-sensor camera (fairly standard sort of kit these days), the moon moves roughly 1 pixel per second for every 50mm of focal length. (So with a 300mm lens, 6 pixels per second, etc.) You can use this to work out what kind of shutter speed you need to freeze the motion, and adjust the aperture and/or ISO accordingly to get the exposure right.
 
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#10
You normally don't need to worry about the speed of the moon's motion in the sky.

Earlier this year, this cropped up in the Sigma 150-600mm thread. The author had used a shutter speed of 1/320th, at 600mm focal length on a 24 megapixel DX camera. It worked out that the moon would have moved by 0.04 pixels whilst his shutter was open.

Ordinarily it's easy to obtain a fast shutter speed, even at night, because the moon is in full sunlight - but during the eclipse you might need to make some trade-offs. If you have a 24 mp crop-sensor camera (fairly standard sort of kit these days), the moon moves roughly 1 pixel per second for every 50mm of focal length. (So with a 300mm lens, 6 pixels per second, etc.) You can use this to work out what kind of shutter speed you need to freeze the motion, and adjust the aperture and/or ISO accordingly to get the exposure right.
Interesting calculation, but way way down the list of sharpness concerns after focusing, camera-shake, mirror-slap and shutter-shock, not to mention lens resolution and AA filter etc. Pixel level definition is very hard to achieve at the best of times. Panning perhaps?
 

StewartR

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#11
Interesting calculation, but way way down the list of sharpness concerns...
Oh, I agree totally, but it's only way down the list because I've done the calculation. If you were worried about the speed of the moon's motion, as the previous poster seemed to be, then you might be trying to use an unnecessarily fast shutter speed in addition to all those other issues. My calculation shows that you don't have to.
 
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#12
Oh, I agree totally, but it's only way down the list because I've done the calculation. If you were worried about the speed of the moon's motion, as the previous poster seemed to be, then you might be trying to use an unnecessarily fast shutter speed in addition to all those other issues. My calculation shows that you don't have to.
Haha I thought you were being serious!

I've never done that calculation but whenever this subject comes up, I just imagine what photographing a snail with a 600mm lens would be like, given that the snail would be moving faster across the frame than the moon. But also, if that calculation was used to photograph any typical fast moving subject, we'd all be looking for that elusive 1/1,000,000sec shutter speed.

Looking at it another way, if we apply the same standard of 'acceptable sharpness' that is used in the universal depth-of-field formula to that same 24mp APS-C sensor (CoC 0.02mm) in your example, the subject would have to move over 5 pixels before sharpness began to suffer visibly.
 
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#13
Depends on the conditions at the time, normally a low ISO, fast shutter speed will do the job as the moon can be extremely bright, but during eclips it can get pretty dark. This is an old image I took during a 'waxing crescent' [when the moon becomes visible again after eclipse]

0.8sec exposure

Waxing crescent
by K G, on Flickr
 
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StewartR

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#14
Looking at it another way, if we apply the same standard of 'acceptable sharpness' that is used in the universal depth-of-field formula to that same 24mp APS-C sensor (CoC 0.02mm) in your example, the subject would have to move over 5 pixels before sharpness began to suffer visibly.
Oh, that's interesting.

I'm not sure we can apply the same standard of 'acceptable sharpness' in this case though. With a 600mm lens, the diameter of the image of the moon on the sensor will be about 5mm. So anyone who takes such a shot will almost certainly (*) be cropping significantly. How does that affect the DOF/COC calculations and hence the implied limit to shatpness.

(*) Unless there's a compositional reason not to crop, as in Cagey75's photo above.
 
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#17
We've had clear skies for weeks, when a bit of cloud would have been welcome to block the sun's heat and today when you want it clear we have cloud :mad:
It's an astronomical event and it's Britain, it was always going to be cloudy, what did you expect?! ;)
 
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#19
Oh, that's interesting.

I'm not sure we can apply the same standard of 'acceptable sharpness' in this case though. With a 600mm lens, the diameter of the image of the moon on the sensor will be about 5mm. So anyone who takes such a shot will almost certainly (*) be cropping significantly. How does that affect the DOF/COC calculations and hence the implied limit to shatpness.

(*) Unless there's a compositional reason not to crop, as in Cagey75's photo above.
Well you could apply the same way of thinking if you wanted to, which is kind of looking at it down the other end of the telescope so to speak. That is, start with an acceptable standard of sharpness in the final image (as the depth-of-field formula does*) and work that back to the sensor. Cropping has the same effect as increased focal length, ie it's just extra magnification, so you could simply apply a crop factor to the calcs.

But I'm not sure it's relevant in this example, as subject movement is a long way down the list of significant variables when shooting the moon, a lot less important than focus accuracy and camera movement/shake with a long lens.

*the whole depth-of-field concept is based on a single basic assumption - that the average human eye cannot discern detail smaller than 0.2mm in a ten inch print held at normal viewing distance (roughly 12in). Everything is worked back from that. It's a universal standard that's been used for many decades, and it still applies pretty well today to the level of sharpness you get looking at a typical computer screen or a printed magazine page.
 
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#21
Tip from me- go out the night before and find out where the moon will be at eclipse time. Bring a compass. I couldn't see it through the slight cloud/ city haze until it started to go out of the Earth's shadow. It was there but not enough contrast to pick out. Live and learn.
 
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